by Janice Frias
I was thrilled to be able to attend the Spring 2016 National Conference of the American Chemical Society to hear the latest research applicable to my job as a protein chemist at Novozymes, Inc., and to represent the local Sacramento section as Alternate Councilor. The technical program was terrific, as usual! Many talks in the Divisions of Biological Chemistry, Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, and Biochemical Technology were very relevant to the study of enzymes and biological systems, which is useful for a scientist at Novozymes. A couple of highlights for this biochemist were talks given by Peter G. Schulz from Scripps Institute and Oliver Fiehn from UC Davis, but I can’t stress enough the great quality science presented overall.
I am also grateful to the ACS Sacramento local section for the opportunity to participate as a voting member at the Council Meeting of the Spring National Meeting. I learned quite a bit more about how ACS functions at the National level and the details of the current issues and accomplishments of the ACS Committees. I can see that the National Committees are also a great way to get involved in ACS and help make a difference in a focused area. The Sacramento local section does currently have members that are active in national committees and would be a great resource for anyone thinking about getting involved. This recent council meeting seemed to have an added focus on understanding ACS membership and member needs and the employment future of chemists, at all levels. The current president, Donna J. Nelson, looked to us—as representatives of our local sections—to provide input on these topics and capture a wide national and international view. The meeting overall was quite productive.
In addition to a great conference experience, I was also able to make the travel a great family experience. My husband and two small children joined me in San Diego to check out the sights prior to the conference, like the San Diego Zoo (pictured in this article), the beach, and the harbor area downtown. This family addition to the conference trip was made much smoother with the ACS National Conference daycare for our toddler. She was able to enjoy a routine of crafts, games, books, and running around outside with other children her age right at the Convention Center, courtesy of ACS. She was enjoying many activities that would otherwise be difficult to coordinate, while I attended the conference and my husband focused on our baby (that is still scheduled to two naps per day). My daughter would highly recommend this great service offered at all ACS National Conferences!