Carol Mulrooney has been actively involved in NESACS, previously serving as Chair, NESACS Women Chemists Committee (WCC) and currently serving as Past-Chair, NESACS
In this Member Volunteer Spotlight, learn more how Carol became involved in volunteering as part of ACS, opportunities for mentorship, and advice to others interested in volunteering.
How did you become involved in this volunteer opportunity / position (including details regarding application / interview process if applicable)?
A few years ago, I was expanding my network to meet chemists who had similar career paths to my own, and I met a member of NESACS (John Burke, former Director-At-Large), who told me about the benefits of getting involved in our local ACS section. Since I really value John’s mentorship and suggestions, I decided to reach out and see where there was a need for any support and to find out what contributions I could make. I then met Katherine Lee (February 2023 Member Spotlight), who talked to me about the NESACS Women Chemists Committee. I was really interested in this committee as I had some experience co-founding a women’s network at my previous employer, the Broad Institute. The NESACS Board was looking for a Chair of the WCC, and although I was intimidated by starting right away as Chair, I had a lot of support from many members of NESACS!
For this volunteer opportunity / position did you have a mentor and/or do you serve as a mentor to others participants in this program?
I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing members of NESACS for our WCC activities. When I started, Mindy Levine was Program Chair for NESACS and strongly supported the NESACS WCC, so she and I worked together on a number of events, from a monthly meeting to a larger WCC sponsored event. From her support I learned a lot about leading, organizing and communicating our work within NESACS. I worked with another outstanding member of NESACS, Mariam Ismail, at our first large event, a panel discussion at Simmons University called “Stem the Gap” about the wage gap between men and women scientists. Mariam’s professionalism and dedication led to the event being a huge success! In later years, I’ve worked with (and learned from) Lori Ferrins, an incredibly skilled and effective leader, on a number of WCC and DEIR events. Anna Sromek has been one of my most important mentors as I have moved through the Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair roles that she undertook a few years ago and Anna is now the current Chair of the NESACS WCC. I would also like to call out some very important mentors that have over the years supported NESACS WCC activities including Patricia Mabrouk, Dorothy Phillips, Doris Lewis, Mort Hoffman, Tom Gilbert, and so many other NESACS Board members! And of course, the wonderful Katherine Lee!
What has been the most rewarding / exciting component of this volunteer opportunity / position?
For me personally, the most rewarding part of being Chair of the WCC was the professional development I obtained while serving. By coming up with ideas for the WCC, then planning and organizing events, I have seen my communication skills and my confidence level rise and this has had a direct impact on my work as an Investigator at GSK. However, I have to admit that the most exciting thing that has happened was when we won the ACS National WCC sponsored Chemluminary Award in 2022 for Outstanding Women Chemists Local Section Event! This was for our series of DEIR inspired events held in 2021 which covered topics like overcoming imposter syndrome, supporting women entrepreneurs, and recognizing and fighting unconscious bias. We are thrilled to recognize the outstanding work and leadership of Lori Ferrins for the success of this series!
What advice would you give to other individuals considering this volunteer opportunity / position?
The WCC committee is a great way to get involved with NESACS! There are many ways in which a new member may contribute and each way is extremely important for our committee’s goal of attracting, developing and supporting women in the chemical sciences. We are always looking for new ideas for events and programs that support women in chemistry and that enable us to connect with the local chemistry community. In addition to new ideas, we love to have as many people as possible to help with setting up logistics for in-person events. I personally love hearing someone propose a great idea for an event and then working to implement that idea and see it come to fruition! To help us communicate our work, we always need people who can promote our events beforehand as well as those who can attend our events and then write up articles for the Nucleus.
We also value collaborating within and outside of NESACS and we encourage those who are members of different groups to reach out to us for ideas for co-sponsored programs. The NESACS WCC has very successfully co-hosted mentoring lunches, panel discussions and other events with the YCC and SCC and we also would love to get involved with more DEIR related activities, including those with other scientific organizations outside of the ACS.
If you’re interested in getting involved, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or our WCC email at WCC@nesacs.org.