Inaugural Department of Chemistry Retreat

By Tien Nguyen, Department of Chemistry
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015

Click to view video slideshow of the 2015 Departmental Retreat

More than 175 chemistry faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students traveled to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania on October 2-4 for the first chemistry departmental retreat.

Held at the Pocono Valley Resort, the weekend long retreat gave attendees the opportunity to share and learn about ongoing research around the department through presentations, posters and robust scientific discussions. Garnet Chan, the Hepburn Professor of Theoretical Chemistry, kicked off the event on Friday evening, delivering a keynote talk that encompassed his unlikely origins as an organic chemist, the way theoretical chemists approach the field of quantum mechanics and exciting research projects that his group members are currently pursuing.

Professor Chan’s presentation was immediately followed by the first session of speakers, dinner and a poster session. Over the course of the weekend, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and research staff gave a total of seventeen scientific presentations, each capped with a vigorous round of questions from the audience.

Though tropical storm Joaquin (students created the hashtag #retreatjoaquin to live tweet the weekend) brought clouds and chilly evenings, spirits remained high as lab groups mingled around fireplaces and campfires. Many took advantages of the outdoor activities offered on the beautiful grounds including the paddleboats, mini-golf course, driving range, ropes course, hiking trails and ziplines that spanned the length of the lake. Despite a persistent drizzle of rain, the departmental soccer tournament drew four teams and a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers, with the Muir lab team ultimately taking first place.

The last day of the retreat brought clear skies and gave attendees the chance to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding mountains. Tom Muir, the Van Zandt Williams, Jr. Class of ‘65 Professor of Chemistry and Departmental Chair, gave closing remarks on the retreat’s success and awarded prizes for the top posters and presentations of the weekend. Poster prizes went to Maggie Tiedemann (4th), Patrick Lutz (3rd), Quinn Gibson (2nd), and Katherine Davis (1st), and presentation awards were given to Weiwei Xie (2nd) and Jenna Jeffrey (1st).

Please enjoy the video compilation of photos from the retreat above, and many thanks to all the attendees for making the retreat a wonderful and scientifically engaging experience.