Second chemistry retreat combines research and relaxation

By Tien Nguyen, Department of Chemistry
Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2016

The Second Departmental Retreat again brought together Princeton Chemistry’s graduate students, researchers and faculty for two days of scientific discourse and community building – this time with better weather.

More than 180 members of the department attended the Retreat which was held on September 8-9th at the Minerals Hotel at Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon, NJ.

Attendees listening to oral presentations 

“There’s a real advantage to going somewhere off-campus,” said assistant professor of chemistry Mohammad Seyedsayamdost. “It’s great to catch up with people from different divisions or floors in Frick that you might not see on a regular basis.”

To start the first day of the Retreat, participants gathered in a large ballroom for a series of talks from student, postdoctoral researcher and faculty presenters across the department. The 15-minute presentations covered topics from base metal catalysis to the spectroscopic study of nanoparticles to topological insulations.

In total, there were 23 talks with prizes awarded to the top three presenters as judged by a faculty committee. The winning presentations were given by: Nyssa Emerson, a fifth-year graduate student in the Yang lab (3rd); Dr. Gregory Ducker, a postdoctoral researcher in the Rabinowitz lab (2nd); and Dr. Jacob Dean, a postdoctoral researcher in the Scholes lab (1st).

Retreat poster session

Following an outdoor BBQ dinner, scientific presentations resumed with a slightly overcrowded but lively poster session. In addition to sharing their latest results with fellow chemists, poster presenters gamely described their science in 30 seconds or less on camera for a departmental video project while onlookers cheered them on. 

“The poster session was the highlight for me,” said Istvan Pelczer, Director of the NMR facility. “It was a great opportunity for students to practice making and presenting posters in a relaxed environment.”

Top poster prizes were awarded to: Megan Emmanuel, a second-year graduate student in the Hyster lab (3rd), Ge Zhang, fifth-year graduate student in the Torquato lab (2nd); and Hande Boyaci, a fifth-year graduate student in the Hughson lab (1st).

The remainder of the talks took place on the morning of the second day, leaving the attendees free to participate in the soccer tournament and take advantage of the resort’s amenities for the afternoon. The tournament drew a vocal crowd of spectators as six teams played for 2016 Departmental Retreat Soccer Cup that was ultimately taken home, ultimately, by the MacMillan lab team.

Winners of the 2016 Retreat soccer tournament