A successful scientist must be inquisitive, determined, and, above all, collaborative. Immersing ourselves in work is essential, but seeing science as a solo pursuit could limit our impact. The most challenging problems in science and the workplace require diverse viewpoints, experiences, and perspectives.
Building a robust professional network is crucial for long-term success. Prioritize fostering relationships within and outside your institution, cultivating a circle of reliable colleagues. Utilize organizations like the American Chemical Society for networking at both national and local levels, connecting with a diverse and expert professional pool.
Opportunities are also abundant within your institution. Make an effort to understand the various roles and individuals within your organization. By engaging in conversations and scheduling informal meet-ups, you can learn from these colleagues, enhancing your role and equipping yourself with additional problem-solving tools. Moreover, this approach paves the way for potential future collaborations.
Networking is more than exchanging contact information - it's about building a team for collective success. In navigating the complexities of science, remember this key point: collaboration is not a byproduct of success; it's an essential catalyst.
Dr. Matthew Irwin joined DuPont's Cyrel® business as a Principal Investigator in 2021, focusing on developing and formulating flexographic plates for the printing industry. Before his current role at DuPont, he spent five years at Axalta Coating Systems' Global Innovation Center, where he was a Team Manager and waterborne color coat formulator. Dr. Irwin is presently the Chair-Elect for the local section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia and serves as an Associate Member of the National ACS Committee on Professional Training (CPT). He completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2016 after earning his B.E. in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University in 2011.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.