During Spring 2015, Barrett Chemical Engineering major Morgan Kelley attended the 249th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Denver, Colorado. This was a national conference for the American Chemical Society, with a theme of the chemistry of natural resources. Her trip was funded by the FURI Travel Grant.
At the conference, Morgan presented her research, “Synthesis and Utilization of Zwitterionic Microgel Dispersions for Uptake and Release of Active Species.”
Morgan wanted to present at this conference because she thought her environmental research coincided with the theme of the conference. She had also never been to a conference before, and, as this is her last semester of FURI, she thought it would be a good time to go.
Morgan attended a presentation titled “Voxelated Liquid Crystal Elastomers”, which was about liquid crystals for use in 3D origami applications. She had an assignment on liquid crystals for her Junior Lab class so she was curious to learn more about them. The presentation showed how mechanical responses could be programmed into the crystals to exhibit a shape change. She plans to apply this knowledge when choosing graduate research projects as she found that this type of application is something that interests her.
Morgan said “The best part of the conference was getting to meet other undergraduates from different universities and majors. Since it was a chemistry conference there weren’t many engineers there. However, I got to learn a lot about different chemistry programs and universities. In talking to other students I learned how great the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering are because we have a lot of research support for undergraduates and extra programs which students I met did not have access to.”
Morgan recommends future presenters to know the dress code before packing for such a conference. She stated, “I wish I knew that when you aren’t presenting it is okay to dress more casual. At ACS, everybody but the presenter was wearing jeans and nice shirts. I wish I knew this because I think I would have packed differently.”
The conference has made Morgan sure she wants to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering.
Morgan’s final recommendation to prospective researchers is to go to these conferences. “Don’t be shy! It is a great opportunity to meet other students and professors!”