The Spring 2017 American Chemical Society National Meeting almost felt like the culmination of my undergraduate chemistry career. I was able to share my work with my peers from all over the country as well as immerse myself in the fascinating research of my peers. The topics presented ranged from probing how students can better learn chemistry in the classroom to developing a precursor for a more durable, data-dense hard drive. It is always inspiring to see the incredible work being done by others, and I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to practice explaining the details and significance of my work, a skill I will need as I grow as a student and academic.
The highlight of the conference was being able to see top researchers present in my field. Dr. Bruce Lipshutz, whose work inspired the research I do at UT, lectured on his recent work that allows reactions to be performed with dramatically less waste, often with a higher efficiency. His talk put my work into perspective: my research is not just the outcomes of individual experiments, but rather a part of a larger search to find more environmentally friendly ways of performing chemical reactions.