Lipin Ji, Research chemist II at MAKScientific, LLC., has been involved in the Northeast Section of Younger Chemist Committee (NSYCC) for over two years and currently serves as the chair of the committee.
In this Member Volunteer Spotlight, learn more how Lipin became involved in volunteering as part of NSYCC, opportunities for mentorship, and advice to others interested in volunteering with NSYCC.
How did you become involved in this volunteer opportunity / position (including details regarding application / interview process if applicable)?
I attended an ACS program-in-a-box event hosted by NSYCC and started volunteering in other NSYCC hosted events. The more career events I attended, the more I became aware of how many career choices I have and how much I could have done to prepare me for a career beyond graduate study. Hence, I decided to run for the career chair, chair-elect and now chair of NSYCC. My goal is to help students navigate through their graduate study and explore different career opportunities as early as possible.
For this volunteer opportunity / position did you have a mentor and/or do you serve as a mentor to others participants in this program?
There are several people I consider as mentors for chairing NSYCC. Meredith Gutierrez and Zemen Berhe, the past two chairs of NSYCC, really set examples of great leadership and commitment to younger chemists. They managed to provide much needed workshops and networking/presentation opportunities for graduate students despite the difficulties from COVID pandemic.
Another mentor or a role model for me is Dr. Katherine Lee, all-time supporter of NSYCC. I met with her at one of NSYCC’s events and was so impressed by her approachability, charisma as a leader, and sincere support to younger chemists. When I started my first job after grad school, I was overwhelmed and reached out to her. She was able to analyze problems together with me and helped me connect with other professionals who had similar experiences. That really helped me understand my job and set my expectations. This is a compelling example of the value of a mentor, and the importance of how NSYCC can help younger chemists like myself.
What has been the most rewarding / exciting component of this volunteer opportunity / position?
The most rewarding moments of volunteering at NSYCC are when I see the many new faces coming to our events. One example of this is recently, we had a virtual chocolate event which more than 25 participants. We learned the science behind chocolate in a casual setting. One participant emailed me after the event, saying that he became so interested in chocolate science and inspired him to explore the possibility of chocolate as formulation. It is really inspiring to see that the events we bring to younger chemists inspire their love of science.
What advice would you give to other individuals considering this volunteer opportunity / position?
One advice to future chairs of NSYCC is to be ready to help others the way you’d like to be helped. One workshop or one connection you brought to younger chemists can mean a lot in their careers and life!