Another successful Graduate Award winners Alumni Event…July 9th, 2019
The 6th Graduate Awardwinners Alumni Event was held on 20th June at Salters’ Hall. We were also pleased to welcome a Centenary Awardwinner from 2018 so the title gets longer! The Graduate & Centenary Awardwinners Alumni Network was set up as part of the Institute Centenary celebrations and it is now well embedded in the Institutes activities and calendar, with us holding two events every year. On this occasion, we welcomed 22 Alumni (Chemists and Chemical Engineers) and 9 representatives from the Salters’ Company. We were very privileged to welcome the current Master, the “about to become” Master, the “next but one” Master and a past Master. So that can’t be bad!
Another first had taken place before the start of the formal event, we had offered a tour of Salters’ Hall to those who wanted to come a bit early (based on feedback from the Alumni). Anthony Lyster, a Salters’ Liveryman and regular “Hall Tour Guide”, had very kindly agreed to lead the tour and we had a very enjoyable tour round the Hall and gardens with lots of interesting history being learned.
Earlier in the year, we had asked the alumni for feedback on the sorts of topics that they would like to hear about and we used that in designing our programme for this event. Thanks to everyone who had sent us their thoughts.
The career journeys of our Alumni remain of interest and so we were very pleased to welcome Donald McNab, a Chemistry Graduate Awardwinner in 1993. Donald is a European and U.K. Patent Attorney and he talked to us about how he chose to go into that profession (after a rather challenging PhD) and what he has been doing since. It was a really interesting insight into the life of a Patent Attorney and prompted many questions for Donald. It also proved of specific interest to one of our Alumni just about to finish their PhD, as I heard over a drink later, that they are thinking about this as a career. So, another very tangible example of the benefit of our Alumni Network.
Our chosen topic for the next guest speaker was “Public Perceptions of Science” and we were very excited to welcome our next speaker, Rebecca Asher, Deputy Director at “Sense about Science”. It is an independent campaigning charity that challenges the misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. They advocate openness and honesty about research findings, and work to ensure the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognised in public discussion and policymaking. Rebecca’s talk was titled “ The Role of Scientists in Public Debate”. This was a fascinating talk with Rebecca sharing her experience of producing communication of scientific topics for the general public on behalf of a number of bodies. For example, they have recently collaborated with the MRC (Medical Research Council) Center for Drug Safety Science to launch : “10½ things you may not know about side effects.” Following Rebecca’s talk, we then held some round table discussions based on some questions raised by Rebecca relating to our own experiences of engaging with the public about science. Much noise ensued and this was a great indicator of the level of engagement of everyone in the discussion. We ended the formal proceedings with an informal supper in the Hall and a chance for more networking before the event closed at 8pm.
Planning is underway for our next event which is hopefully going to be held at Syngenta’s Jealott’s Hill R & D site near Bracknell on 27th November. Look out for the e-mails about it and book your place.
If you would like to be involved, please contact Stephanie Mearns firstname.lastname@example.org