My best advice for achieving success in industry is that YOUR NETWORK MATTERS! Every job I have had in chemistry, or every job change I have had within my organizations, has been facilitated by my network. The ACS is a great place to develop and foster your network, especially at the local section level, but don’t sleep on the networking on the national level. My current job is DIRECTLY because of my volunteering with the Indiana Section. I was able to gather a network of chemistry-oriented folks through my passion for bringing STEM education to kids. It was a win-win situation for me as I got to work on something that I felt strongly about, and I was able to meet new folks and coincidentally show off some of my soft skills. Career paths open up when you know more people and learn more about what they do and how they fit into the chemistry enterprise.
This network cannot be underestimated. While it is hard to quantify on a balance sheet of ROI, it is a clear investment worth making. The ACS is a great place to invest in your future development. So now, how do you get involved? The first place I would contact is your local section. I bet they are dying to get your involvement! Whether you are passionate about STEM education, government affairs, or sustainability, there is likely a spot for you in your local section to lead or volunteer with current projects. This is a great way to start to develop your local network. At the National Level, the best way to get involved is through the numerous national committees that the ACS has. Again, no matter your passion, a committee is focused on that. You can reach out to the individual committee to see if they are seeking volunteers for short term projects, or you can fill out a Committee Preference Form through the ACS to get placed on the committee. You will fill out a form that asks about your interests and expertise, and the committee filling group will get you placed!
Don’t wait to get involved. Your future network is waiting!
Brian Mathes works with Elanco as a Senior Research Chemist in Early Research Formulation. He also serves as a Councilor for the great Indiana Section and heads up the Kids and Chemistry outreach efforts locally. Nationally, he serves as the ConC chair, charged with helping ACS volunteers find impactful spots in the ACS to help move forward ACS initiatives as well as develop their network and soft skills.
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.
Brian Mathes works at Elanco as a Senior Research Chemist in Early Research Formulation.