Chemistry: A Solid Foundation
for a Bright Future
BY MARINDA LI WU
15 Women Chemists Committee
Eli Lilly Travel Grant
Let me begin by saying thanks and congratulations! Thanks for choosing to study chemistry; congratulations on selecting a course of study that should benefit you, no matter what you eventually decide to do in your career. When I was in high
school, I considered majoring in chemistry or French. Although I still love learning about
different cultures and foreign languages, I’ve always been glad I majored in chemistry.
The great thing about majoring in science and developing a technical background
is that you can go on to do just about anything you choose. Opportunities for a person with a science foundation are widespread: marketing, science policy, journalism,
manufacturing, and even politics are just a few that come to mind.
Some people get advanced degrees in science and go into research or education;
others enter medical, dental, or veterinary schools; still others augment technical
degrees with an MBA, a law degree, or another advanced specialized degree. To name
just one interesting example, Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister,
started as a chemist. The more well-rounded your education, the more competitive
you can be in the global marketplace.
I’m often asked what advice I have for students. At the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad held last July in Washington, DC, I shared four things that have helped
me throughout my personal and professional life:
• Always work hard and strive for excellence.
• Have passion for whatever you choose to do.
• Have confidence and believe in yourself!
• It’s also important to have some fun along the way.
No matter which path you choose after college, I hope you will remember to
share with others the benefits that chemistry contributes to everyday life. You
can easily become a Chemistry Ambassador by signing up at www.acs.org/
chemistryambassadors. Make a difference. Why not try it?
I’ve met with leaders of sister chemistry societies around the world. It turns out
that one of the biggest challenges we all face is the general public’s negative image
of the chemical industry, and often chemistry itself. Therefore, it is critical that we
instill in both policy makers and the general public a better appreciation of the many
benefits for society created by chemistry. I hope you will consider becoming a vocal
advocate as I have, not only for chemistry, but for science and technology too.
One of my ACS presidential initiatives is to identify challenges and opportunities
related to the global chemistry enterprise. To help chemists better prepare themselves to compete in this arena, I established a Presidential Task Force, “Vision 2025:
Helping ACS Members Thrive in the Global Chemistry Enterprise.” We are working in
the areas of promoting job growth, collaboration, education, and advocacy.
I hope to have an opportunity to meet some of you during my travels. If you see
me at a meeting somewhere, please come up and introduce yourself. I can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and welcome your ideas. Best of luck— with whatever
you choose to do!
1 Applications for ACS
Scholars Program due
14 Pi Day
21 ACS Innovative Activities
Grant applications due
21 ACS Community Interactions
Grant applications due
22 Activity Fact Sheets due for the
Chem Demo Exchange event
at the 245th ACS National
Meeting in New Orleans, LA
245th ACS National Meeting,
New Orleans, LA
22 Chemists Celebrate Earth Day
44th ACS Central Regional
Meeting (CERM), Mount
22 ACS Student Chapter Reports
Great Lakes Regional Meeting
(GLRM), La Crosse, WI
Marinda Li Wu, Ph.D., is founder and president of Science Is Fun! in Orinda, CA, and
president of ACS. Find her at Marinda Wu on Facebook.
Northwest Regional Meeting
(NORM), Corvallis, OR
inChemistry • www.acs.org/undergrad