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Women in Chemistry
Our Mission
The Women Chemists Committee is dedicated to attracting, developing, and supporting women in the chemical sciences and we plan to address such timely issues as the gender wage gap and promoting the nomination of more women and minorities for ACS awards. In addition, we are collaborating with the Younger Chemists Committee and the Senior Chemists Committee to hold a series of events emphasizing the importance of mentorship at all career levels.

Volunteer Opportunities
The Women Chemists Committee is seeking permanent members to shape its long term goals as well as volunteers to assist with event planning, connecting with other local women in science groups, and writing articles for The Nucleus. Please contact the WCC chair, Carol Mulrooney, at, if interested.

Who are we?
  Dr. Carol Mulrooney, Chair

NESACS is proud to have a vibrant community of women chemists, and a variety of activities that promote female involvement in this central science.

Building Bonds to Create Future Leaders
By Lori Ferrins, Christine Dunne, Melissa Buskes, Quillon Simpson
Attendees at the 2020 Boston Global Women’s Breakfast. Photo by Dr. Quillon Simpson.
The Global Women’s Breakfast (GWB) is an international networking opportunity organized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and that is designed to celebrate the contribution of women to the field of chemistry. Starting in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii, the
breakfast events spread around the globe and provide an opportunity to connect with other groups hosting breakfasts at the same time.
The overall purpose of GWB2020 is to establish an on-going virtual network where women in chemistry and related sciences can connect with each other to celebrate their achievements, support their professional aspirations, and develop leadership skills. Held on February 12, 2020, the day after the
United Nations Day of Women and Girls in Science, this event is timed so as to maintain the momentum of this day.
The Boston edition of the GWB saw the inclusion of a wide variety of scientists who were eager to participate in the narrative of the day. In 2020, the theme of the breakfast was “Building Bonds to Create Future Leaders” and we focused on the importance of a strong community that encourages greater diversity in the chemical enterprise. 113 interested chemists, irrespective of career stage (including students), gender, or employment sector, gathered at Merck research labs, and this led to a
networking opportunity like no other in the area!
Dr. Fabienne Meyers, Associate Director of IUPAC and Managing Editor of Chemistry International was in attendance and shared her thoughts on the importance of communication in science. In doing so, she highlighted the important role that IUPAC plays in providing a “common language for the communication” of chemistry.
Dr. Bonnie Bertolaet, a long time NESACS member and Executive Director of Science Club for Girls
( attended the breakfast and highlighted the important work that they do. Through the provision of free, experiential hands-on programming, and connecting girls (typically those who are underrepresented by race, family income or are first-generation students) to
women STEM mentors, they have found that over 90% of the program participants go on to study at college, and over 50% of those choose a STEM major. A small donation was requested from all attendees and this was donated to Science Club for Girls, in total, we raised $359.60!
Dr. Anna Sromek the NESACS chair and Dr. Lori Ferrins, the chair of the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN) both highlighted opportunities to get involved with volunteering at the local and international level.
Finally, Dr. Erin di Mauro shared her thoughts on the importance of networking and seizing opportunities that lead to personal growth. She asked the audience to consider “what opportunities are out there that you aren’t aware of?”. For Erin, it all started with a poster presentation at an ACS meeting, and the next year she returned to give a talk. It was here that she met Dr. Margaret Chu Moyer and she began building the bonds that would help drive her personal and professional success. Erin’s final message was to say goodbye to a fixed mindset with respect to building your network, embrace it as part of your everyday life, and don’t just think of it as work. That is really when you will
start to create everlasting bonds.
We would like to thank all of the GWB sponsors, NESACS, Merck, the ACS Division of Computing in Chemistry, and the Northeastern University Chemistry Department for their invaluable support. We look forward to seeing the many familiar faces at GWB2021 and welcoming new attendees and supporters
of women in chemistry!

The NESACS Multi-Generational Mentoring Initiative
The idea for the NESACS Multi-Generational Mentoring Initiative was conceived as a collaboration of the Younger Chemists Committee (YCC), Women Chemists Committee (WCC), and Senior Chemists Committee (SCC) led by Catherine Rawlins, Carol Mulrooney, and Morton Hoffman, respectively.
We recognized that there were overlapping goals of these three committees and successfully received an Innovative Projects Grant from the ACS! There are many stages of your career in which mentoring is needed and we sought to combine our efforts to reach a broader audience as a team. Thus far, three events have been run in 2017 under this initiative.
Know Your Worth Workshop with Ashley Pare
During the Fall 2017 NSYCC Career Symposium at Boston University, we organized a workshop on building salary negotiation skills. This stemmed from the Wage Gap Panel hosted by the WCC in April 2017. Because of the new Equal Pay laws in Massachusetts, there is a need for more training on salary negotiation as a way to close the gender wage gap.
This workshop was run by Ashley Pare, an expert on teaching negotiation skills with 10+ years in human resources whose company, Own Your Worth LLC, leads workshops in the Greater Boston Area. Ashley presented information on the wage gap among chemists and presented resources for chemists to find out what the expected salary range is for chemists of different backgrounds in industry. The undergraduate and graduate students attending the symposium learned about the need to negotiate their salary when starting their industry careers. In interactive sessions, the audience practiced negotiating by roleplaying employer and prospective employee salary conversations. In the feedback from the post-symposium surveys, many cited this workshop as their favorite part of the day’s events and felt that the training was valuable.
Graduate Programs in Chemistry:
Deciding, Getting in and Succeeding
This panel discussion was geared towards undergraduate chemistry students considering graduate school and was cohosted by the Department of Chemistry at Bridgewater State University. The four panelists ranged in experience from a BSU alumna in her first year in a graduate program to a University Professor in charge of graduate admissions. The panelists participating were Phoebe Kurriss, graduate student at Brown University, Catherine Rawlins, graduate student at Northeastern and a co-host of the panel, Dr. Mindy Levine, Associate Professor at University of Rhode Island, and Dr. Carla Mattos, Professor at Northeastern University. Carol Mulrooney, chair of the NESACS Women Chemists Committee, moderated the discussion.
Utilizing resources from the ACS, the discussion started with the decision to go to graduate school and moved to what the undergraduates would need to do to prepare themselves for the experience. The second part of the discussion revolved around each year of graduate school and what the milestones are that the students can expect to achieve during their time. The presentation included
numerous references to the ACS website and the extensive resources available to undergraduate and graduate students. Pizza and refreshments were served before the panel and students were given the opportunity to network with the panelists after the event. We plan to direct more events such as this to undergraduate-only institutions to reach a broader audience.
Perspectives on a Life in Chemistry:
This symposium was the third IPG sponsored event, held at Northeastern University on December 5th. Four established, successful chemists spoke of their experiences from both having and being mentors. Throughout the presentations, a common theme surfaced and sent a powerful message about the benefits of mentoring. Opening remarks were given by Dr. Mindy Levine, NESACS 2018 Chair. Mindy shared some observations on her experiences with her past mentors, including some direct pieces of advice she has received, some helpful, some… not so helpful. The goal of this symposium was to share the wisdom from years of experience to students and early career scientists to guide them in their scientific journey. These were the highlights from each speaker:
Dr. Morton Hoffman, Professor Emeritus, Boston University spoke of his friendships with his mentors and mentees, and of the benefits of being a mentor in academia. These include the good feelings gained from helping someone and gaining a life-long friend. Mentors helping new professors also humanize an academic department by encouraging people to talk to each other. He summarized with an observation: everybody needs a mentor, although some hesitate to reach out for help.
Dr. Dorothy Phillips, Retired, Waters Corporation, introduced her presentation by defining mentoring as a key element of leadership. She spoke of the mentors she has had during her career as close friends. While moving up the industry career ladder, she received key pieces of advice, including one from a close friend and colleague who stressed publishing one paper a year. She also talked about how she asked for mentoring when serving in the National ACS leadership. Her plan when seeking advice was to introduce herself to one of the leaders, ask for some time and prepare specific questions for her prospective mentor. Dorothy ended her talk by specifying her most important mentoring relationships: her family.
Dr. Tom Gilbert, Associate Professor, Northeastern University, shared his observations on what it takes to be an effective mentor: a strong base of knowledge and experience, and an understanding of the value of being a mentor - that you lift yourself by lifting up others. Tom told us of a mentor-turned-collaborator who helped him grow as a teacher by understanding the needs of the students. Among the mentors Tom spoke of was our final speaker, Dr. Vouros, with whom Tom described as the “quintessential mentor.”
Dr. Paul Vouros, Professor Emeritus, Northeastern University, talked of mentoring as something that can come naturally, not having to be planned. He uses his past positive experiences with
mentors to inform his own mentorship. His description of a good mentor included knowledge and excellence in the field of study, patience, warmth, and an interest in students’ goals and objectives.
The undercurrent of warmth, friendship and collaboration ran through each presentation and served to inspire the audience. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn how to be mentors from these excellent speakers!
Looking ahead to 2018, we plan to host more events targeting the different demographics represented by each of the three committees and expand our network to other organizations in the Greater Boston Area!