The past summer was not ordinary for chemistry graduate student Roberto Federico-Perez, a member of Xue’s Research Group at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He participated in a week-long Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy Summer School that took place at the Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden, Colorado from June 21 to 28. During the Summer School, Federico-Perez was introduced to Network of Early-career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers (NESSE), and was selected to work with NESSE in La Rochelle, France next May to organize the 2017 International Symposium on Green Chemistry (ISGC).
Sponsored by American Chemical Society, the Summer School hosted 55 participants from US, Canada and several countries in South America. Participants attended sessions throughout the day with topics ranging from green chemistry, ionic liquids to life-cycle assessment and policy-making. They were also offered workshops on grant proposal writing, entrepreneurship, and career planning.
To encourage interactions among participants, the program included group projects. “We had to analyze the life cycle of an organic synthesis and make a group presentation on it as part of our program.” Federico-Perez said. “I enjoyed working with people from different institutions and backgrounds on it. It was though, a labor-intensive task to be accomplished on a short deadline. However, we acquired some valuable working knowledge on the subject by participating on this hands-on exercise. ”
Green chemistry is a field that started as a result of a long discussion on how to make a more effective use of available resources. The term and field have become more widespread in the past 25 years. “The opportunity to observe how the principles of sustainability are incorporated on chemical research was a real benefit I obtained from this summer school.” Federico-Perez commented. “The ACS Summer School was a valuable experience to communicate the current trends on this field. This event has become an exceptional tool to foster a new generation of professionals with a different view on the application of chemistry.”
Federico-Perez’s endeavor into green chemistry did not stop when the Summer School ended. He was excited about NESSE, an organization established after the 2013 Summer School to provide a platform in order to create a community of next generation sustainable scientists connected globally.
“NESSE has members from all over the world, and organizes activities that range from maintaining a blog for communication of events in the field, hosting career workshops on green chemistry, and promoting the development of sustainable science groups.” Federico-Perez said.
As part of their agenda, NESSE participated in organizing the 2015 ISGC. They put out a call for volunteers to serve on 2017 ISGC committee, to which Federico-Perez responded and was selected along with another participant from this year’s Summer School.
“A big part of our current tasks is the communication of the event.” Federico-Perez explained the priority of the ISGC committee. “ISGC 2017 is the perfect inter-disciplinary platform to exchange the most recent advancements in the field, meet experts in public and private sectors, and network with the growing community of green chemistry. Over 800 attendees are expected to share their knowledge in multiple parallel sessions. The call for abstracts is open, and the submission deadline is October 31st.”
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