Matthew Mio | Chemists in the Real World
Matthew Mio earned a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry in 2001, and is now an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Detroit Mercy. “I’ve done a pretty good job of learning in my lifetime,” Mio says to prospective students on the UD Mercy website, “and I want to pass those skills on to you so that you can continue to learn.”
Mio got his first job thanks to dedicated networking with researchers in his area of interest and it’s still a habit he finds crucial to his career success. “You have to put yourself in a position to be challenged by individuals who force you to expand your knowledge at regular intervals,” Mio says. “ACS meetings and governance help me do this twice (or more) a year.”
What's a typical day on the job like?
Academics do teaching, research and service on a daily basis. I work at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI), so our main aim is teaching and teaching students through research.
Are there any apps/software/instrumentation/tools that you can't live without?
Chemdraw, Microsoft Office
Describe your work environment.
I have an office, multiple labs, and I teach in a lecture hall.
Does your job follow a typical 9-to-5 schedule?
A typical week is 50-70 hours, and I travel 1-5 days a month. Overtime is required from the point of view of whatever problems still need to be solved at the end of the day must be solved. I still have "homework" in the way of grading, and this can be 1-5 hours a night during the academic year. During off-term, things are pretty relaxed. In the academic year, the pace is far quicker.
What is your best productivity trick?
No email, no phone, no person-to-person interactions allowed for some part of the day.
What's the best career advice you've received?
The journey of finding something is often much better than the thing itself.
Do you have any special talents or traits that make you a great fit for your job?
I like to write, perform and do science. This is a PUI prof's job, in short.
What essential habit do you have now that you wish you'd started much earlier?
Keeping physically fit! I don't have the best habits in this area, so I wish I would have started earlier.