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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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11/27/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Photonics and Silicon-Carbon Evolution
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 11:25 am

As we look to intersecting fields with the chemical enterprise,
photonics continues to make enormous strides.  Related
fields include optomechanics [interaction of EM radiation and
mechanical vibrations], opto-atomics [in precision time-keeping,
metrology, etc.], and polaritonics [carrier is polariton].
.

My exposure and, perhaps, many readers is with photochemistry
energy levels and quantum mechanics.  With the advent of
lasers, emitting diodes, nonstoichiometric compounds, 
nanomaterials and devices, a wider range of materials, devices,
timeframes, meta-structures and forces/particles emerges as
significant.  Photonics opens a wider range of career paths and
suggests attention to SPIE news and developments.  SPIE is
also a leader in the open-access realm of technical publications.
.
Note the digital library and upcoming conference is available.
.
So much of the origin of photonics is silicon based.  In addition,
the natural abundance and similarity of silicon to carbon
coordination bring up a question to the curious– what about 
silicon and silicon-carbon based evolution?
.
A recent Science publication highlighted in an article in
CSM points out how bacteria isolated from Iceland’s hot
springs have enzymes that efficiently form C-Si bonds. 
This brings us back to some chemistry.
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11/20/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Omics and Panomics
Filed under: Recent Posts, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:37 pm

Genome, proteome, epigenome, metabolome,
pharmacogenome and dozens of other fields of study involve
chemistry.  They all relate informally to the characterization
of molecular entities in biological fields translating into the
structure, function and dynamics of organisms.

Wiki sketches the word suffix origin.
Omics International pulls together open access publications
and conferences aiming to taking science, engineering,
technology 
and management of biological fields and disseminate
broadly.  Panomics is a more inclusive term for interaction with
all biological functions within a cell and with other body
functions by combining data from targeted tests, global assays 
with other patient-specific information. 
.

Pharmaceutical enterprises face complex networks in understanding
and developing therapies for diseases.  More systems wide biology
based approaches
(-omics) provide one of the directions to develop
predictive and actionable models
 
So we see this in the evolution of epigenomics, lipidomics,
and lipoprotein proteomics.  Recently, interesting reports of
the human connectome project which studies how the brain is
wired and how this wiring relates to brain function by
integrating many 
diverse sources.
This -omics factoring should be looked for in reports of newly
developed approaches like CRISPR/Cas9

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11/15/16
Undergraduate Job Search Workshop.
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, First Year on Job, Technicians, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 1:31 pm

Last weekend we were part of a team presenting a job search
workshop for undergraduate chemistry field majors
at UConn. 
It was well attended and provi ded resume reviews and mock
interviews in addition to four topical discussions tuned to this
audience’s needs.

Four discussion areas from the day workshop are presented to readers.
 1.  Thesis or non-thesis masters is a graduate school option that was
new to many.  The thesis option involves a specialized project with
a professor.  It can require a longer term of study due to the research
in your domain.  The non-thesis option often involves a mini project
or a comprehensive exam to meet the requirements of the degree. 
The exam is taken after you have completed certain courses.

Choosing the thesis option can allow you to receive an assistantship
during your program.

Some fields prefer the thesis option as it allows a learning by doing
a new project to come up with outcomes.  If funding is limited, a
project reaches an end or facilities are not available the non-thesis
option
can be preferred.  Some fields, like geology, have reported the
non-thesis option has advantages as reported a Colorado School of mines.

 2.  Some firms reportedly use Jobvite to facilitate hiring.  People
have reported problems uploading their documentsJobvite specifies
that resumes need to be Word or “unlocked PDF” file formats
and that after uploading to populate application fields, you need to
use the attach button to include part for your application file.

You need to follow uploading instructions to the T.  Some instructions
include word limits, some seek a specific number of writing samples,
and others have specific deadline dates .

Barbara Safani points out that many people make the mistake of
taking their formatted Word document and uploading it into a text
box
on a company website.  Formatting is lost.  So it is prudent to
follow the specific job search instructions.

 3.  Traveling to an onsite interview can be a challenge.  Ask for
specific directions
to specific gates before you go.  Know who you
are to meet and their telephone number
in case of a delay, expecting
to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled first meeting time.

Interestingly a number of companies now require following ITAR
regulations
.  Thus to facilitate the special ITAR badge bring your
passport with you if you are an international candidate.

 4.  I was surprised that my colleagues felt it was fine to ask about
salary during the onsite interview
.  This might be the case, if you
had a very promising position in hand or were working in a good
position already.
You should always be ready to respond to a salary requirements
question
or what has been your salary in the past three positions…
There are pitfalls for coming in low or coming in high.  So, a response
to that query would be here is a range and you would consider any
reasonable offer where you can make a difference doing something you
are good at.

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11/11/16
Listening. 2. Five aspects to focus on
Filed under: Recent Posts, Interviewing, First Year on Job, Undergraduate majors
Posted by: site admin @ 4:21 pm

This post reports on a class given graduate students on
Listening Skills.  It was inspired by Nichols and Stevens,
yet the concepts described by Brenda Bailey-Hughtes and
Tatiana Kolovou
were built upon with practical exercises
which were specifically reviewed for teachable moments
and subliminally presented for different learning styles.

The class contained an international audience.  We have learned that
some  non native English speakers found  other behavioral 
psychology topics challenging.
Listening, filled with practical exercises giving examples of how 
we need to focus and 
how we selectively listen to people focusing on one aspect or
another.
.
Yet we have have to listen to many aspects:
 - details and specific facts
 - understanding the big picture
 - evaluating the content
 - observing and understanding nonverbal cues
 - empathizing with the speaker
.
The audience was encouraged to focus on improving their two weakest 
aspects and develop specific plan to make improvements.  Standing out
were pay attention to the “big picture”, nonverbal displays and 
hijacks that limit our rational thinking and attention.
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11/03/16
Trends in Technical Careers. Optics, Spectroscopy and miniaturizing instruments
Filed under: Recent Posts, Position Searching, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 5:15 pm

Do you feel amazed each time you read about new advances
where one of the fundamental components is optical?  I am.  
Optical fabrication and materials  play a central role in many
things we do– practical every day, engineering and scientific.

The first reference is in Photonics Spectra magazine which
gives major milestones in optics fabrication.
The second is a link to a compact review of real world applications
and methods of applied spectroscopy.
.
The third is a link to a review on miniaturization driven by reduced
costs and space impacts combined with advances in microelectronics.
.
OPTICS FABRICATION
SOURCE:  History of Optics Fabrication  2  PHOTONICS
SPECTRA  Vision History
What this sketch outlines is an 800 year acceleration of development
especially over the last half century.  This is part of a review by
Marie Freebody .  It can be overlooked  as so many devices 
combine optical tools with spectroscopic and multi-laser 
sources and computer integrated sampling.
.
REAL WORLD SPECTROSCOPY
SOURCE:  Annual Industrial Trends Spectroscopy  
Nice appropriate review on some of the latest developments
including Total-reflection X-ray Fluorescence, Laser-induced
breakdown spectroscopy at small scales, rapid cancer detection
FT-IR and peptide folding using laser-Raman.
3-D imaging and continuously increasing complex NIRS
applications were reported and cited.
.
ADVANCES IN MINIATURIZATION
SOURCE:  V. Balaram Spectroscopy 10-16
Current Advances in Miniaturization of Analytical Instruments
Most are aware of Moore’s Law and its influence.  Miniaturization
of analytical tools is allowing scientific investigations in a number
of realms, including space exploration, geological studies, 
environmental sensors and redundancy to increase the validity 
of measurements.
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