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2022 Message from the Chair

On behalf of the PMSE officership, Executive Committee, and programming team, I am delighted to kick off our return to in-person programming at the Spring 2022 ACS meeting in San Diego.

 It’s been two years since cancellation of the Spring 2020 meeting and our subsequent retreat from laboratories, offices, and schools to living rooms and Zoom rooms. Lack of the informal interactions that underpin scientific collaboration and learning has been challenging for our community. Many PMSE members have suffered significant losses: of family, friends, and colleagues; educational and job disruption. When we re-launch in San Diego, it will be in a new hybrid reality. Regardless of how you tune in – from a chair in a seminar room or from a computer screen – we’ll be glad to see you.

Disruption and change, although stressful, bring opportunities to refresh how we operate. What’s different in your work? What tools, connections, and resources enable your science that weren’t critical before? Are there initiatives you’d like to see within PMSE?  Are you looking for a chance to implement an idea, or reach out to a new community? Can we help?

The theme of the upcoming San Diego ACS meeting is “Bonding Through Chemistry.”  How does PMSE work towards this goal?

  • Bonds between disciplines. PMSE’s technical programming covers a broad technical space, from synthetic chemistry fundamentals to materials engineering and applications (existing and emerging) in widely divergent fields, plus everything in between.
  • Bonds between generations. Our next generation of leaders is celebrated with the annual Future Faculty and Young Investigator Symposia and the Eastman Chemical and Henkel Student Awards. PMSE has over 540 graduate and undergraduate student members and 12 thriving PMSE/POLY Student Chapters. A highlight of our Fall 2022 meeting programming will be a 1 ½-day technical symposium organized by Student Chapter members.
  • Bonds between employment sectors. The Division has well-balanced professional representation from industry, government, and academia (institutions and corporations large and small). We also have members from disciplines such as healthcare, K-12 education, cultural heritage conservation, and library science.  You never know who you’ll meet in a PMSE symposium room!
  • International bonds. PMSE is represented on six continents, with about 25% of our members residing outside of the United States. The Division actively promotes scientific and cultural exchange through its International Advisory Committee and jointly organized symposia (such as the PMSE-Chinese Chemical Society seminar series and 2023 USA-Israel Joint Symposium on Polymeric Materials). Our ACS Global Outstanding Student and Mentor Award recognizes excellence in graduate research worldwide.

PMSE is actively committed to cultivating a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and respectful community of polymer scientists and engineers. We welcome continued and new engagement from our membership in helping us to strengthen our policies and take appropriate actions to meet this goal.

All of us are privileged to be scientists and engineers at this time in history. Our world needs breakthroughs in sustainability, energy, medicine, and other global challenges to a greater extent than ever before.  Solutions for many problems will rely on the design and deployment of polymeric materials. Everyone’s dedication and expertise is critical. All hands are needed on deck to shape the future. Your work today will impact the quality of peoples’ lives in the year 2052; in 2072; in 2122.

How can PMSE advance your work? How can we better fulfill our mission: to foster interactions and provide a forum for technical exchange in the field of polymeric materials? Please let us know – we’d love to hear from you.

Your 2022 PMSE Chair,

Lisa S. Baugh

ExxonMobil Research & Engineering Company
Corporate Strategic Research
Annandale, NJ