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2-Minute Drill winner chronicles her experience at #NOBCChE2016

The 2-minute Drill was designed to give conference attendees a chance to market their research to a panel of industry leaders. First place winner, Kelly Mouapi, Ph.D candidate at University of Louisville, details her conference experience. #MyNOBCChEStory

Kelly outside of the Percy Julian Luncheon during the 43rd Annual NOBCChE National Conference.
How did you learn about the conference? 
I heard about the organization NOBCChE as a graduate student through my mentor Dr. Aleeta Powe. She recommended and encouraged me to attend the conference, and also connected me with her mentors, colleagues, and friends who were attending the conference. 

Did you receive a travel award?
Yes. The travel award greatly influenced my decision to attend this conference. With the cost of registration and housing covered, I could focus on traveling to the conference location and presenting my research. At first I was not sure about the volunteer component of the travel award. I later found this experience very rewarding as I volunteered during STEM weekend/ Science Bowl events. This was a great reminder to give back to the scientific community. 

"By the end of the conference, it was difficult to say good-bye." – Kelly Mouapi 

Kelly presenting research.

Where you able to network at the conference?
About 99 percent of the people I met at the conference were new. However, these people were not new when I left the conference. They were more like family. I had connected with new colleagues, mentors, collaborators and friends. My roommate and I had a lot in common and we had a great time throughout the conference. By the end of the conference, it was difficult to say good-bye.

Tell us about your conference experience!
During the conference, I attended several events including networking events, a lot of professional developments events and several technical sessions. As a first time attendee, I really enjoyed the first event for new members the day before the official conference day. The professional development sessions, e.g CVs and cover letter, was very practical for me and I received one-on-one feedback to improve my CV and cover letter during the conference. Other events such as the chat and chew provided an atmosphere to network and connect with others, which was great! 

What did you like most about the conference?
It's hard to say exactly what I liked the most about the conference since each aspect of the conference met a unique need for me. The Percy Julian Luncheon stood out for me especially as I wrap up my graduate studies. It was a good reminder that other Black Chemists and Chemical engineers have done great work, they continue to leave an impact in the sciences, and are always creating opportunities for us — the next generation of scientists. I also really liked the fact that there were very few overlapping sessions. 

What could be improved for future NOBCChE conferences? 
Next year, I would love to see more opportunities to chat and chew, a larger representation of universities and industry for the career fair, a few more panel sessions for undergraduate students. A similar set-up for the poster sessions where people could sit if needed, chat and chew while looking at posters worked out perfectly. 

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My NOBCChE Story: First year NOBCChE experience

My NOBCChE Story: First Year NOBCChE Experience

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