Alumni Highlight – Marina Damiano

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Our alumna Marina Damiano, Ph.D., gave a great talk at the departmental research and awards symposium. For those of you who missed the chance to meet Marina and hear about what she has been doing, we chatted with Marina and asked her about life after DePaul. You can connect with Marina on LinkedIn or Twitter. Our questions and her responses are shown below:

  • What degree did you obtain from DePaul and what did you do immediately afterwards (go into another degree program, go into the workforce, etc)?

I earned a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. German (double major); Minor in Mathematics; and participated in the Honors Program during my time at DePaul.

After DePaul, I earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University. My graduate research focused on developing nanoparticle-based therapeutics as alternatives to chemotherapy.

  • What is your current position and how long have you been in that position?

Two years ago, I started Damiano Group, a scientific communications consulting business.

I started my business because I noticed that scientists are not always the best at communicating the exciting and impactful research we do. This is a problem because good communication is necessary for exchanging ideas, piquing the interest of funding organizations, and engaging with the public to increase awareness and encourage action. It’s not only true for individual scientists, but also for the companies and organizations creating new products, services, and policies.

Focusing on researchers and organizations in science and healthcare, I help my clients better communicate the what, how, and so what for their research, product, or service.

  • What types of tasks and activities do you do in your current position (in other words, what actually happens in that job, our students might not know!)?

Every day is different! I work both in the business and on the business, meaning I am responsible for the actual work for my clients and all aspects of running the business.

My client projects fall into two buckets: writing and communications coaching.

Writing projects can range from creating a blog post featured in Nature to a peer-reviewed article in The Patient.

Communications coaching projects can range from coaching a senior Ph.D. student in preparation for a job talk — a research presentation given as part of a job interview in academia and industry — to preparing talking points for a healthcare CEO’s interview in a top online or print publication specific to the life science, pharmaceutical, medical device, and healthcare industries (often called trade media).

If I’m not doing work for a client, I’m strategizing on how to keep current clients happy, pitching new clients, hiring contractors, and doing anything necessary to keep my business running smoothly.

  • How has your chemistry degree and DePaul education helped you in your career? What were the most beneficial aspects?

My chemistry training at DePaul built the foundation for pursuing graduate work. More importantly, the liberal arts emphasis of DePaul provided a well-rounded education and gave me insight into the world outside of the laboratory and academia.

  • What do you think are the most useful skills to have for your current career?

Writing and speaking skills, of course. A basic understanding of science is ideal, but specific technical expertise is not necessary. Your job is to interview experts and ask the right questions to get the information you need to tell their stories.

It is crucial to learn how to read verbal and non-verbal cues when interacting with someone, how to be persuasive, and how to understand the viewpoint of your intended audience.

  •  What advice do you have for our graduating students or recent graduates as they look at the next step in their careers?

Graduate school and bench research in industry are not your only options (though they are fine options, indeed). You can create your own path, but the keyword is “you.” If you want a non-traditional job, you must attend the networking events, send the e-mails, introduce yourself to the speaker after the seminar, ask for advice. Most people had help finding their first job (or maybe even all their jobs) and are happy to give back time to talk about their career paths and assist new graduates. But, you have to make the first move.

  • Do you have anything else you would like to share with our students and alumni?

Developing good written, visual, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills is critical to success, even if you choose not to go into a career in science communication.

Practice talking and writing about science and your research to different audiences as often as you can. Know your audience and what’s important to them. Make sure you have a compelling reason for why they should care about what you’re saying or writing and how they can take action.

 

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Spring Quarter 2017 Classes

Students start enrolling in courses this week. Don’t forget to meet with your academic advisor to discuss your plans! We wanted to highlight some classes that will be offered in SQ2017 besides the regularly offered courses.

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Dr. Vadola is offering a class on Organometallic Chemistry (CHE326/327 lecture and lab). Organometallic chemistry is the intersection of organic and inorganic chemistry, and many of the modern synthetic methods for organic compounds involve organometallic catalysts. This course will provide an introduction to the fundamental structure and bonding of organometallic complexes, while offering an in depth study of the unique reaction mechanisms by which metals, particularly transition metals, react with organic molecules. Applications of these compounds and reactions to real-world industrial processes will also be presented to highlight the tremendous utility of this chemistry.

Dr. Maresh is teaching Drugs and Toxicology (CHE362). This course covers the chemical and biological analysis of the metabolism and distribution of drugs, toxins and chemicals in animals and humans, and the mechanism by which they cause therapeutic and toxic responses. Metabolism and toxicity as a basis for drug development, metabolic polymorphisms and biomarkers of exposure are also covered.

At the MS level, Dr. Grice is offering a special topics’ course in inorganic chemistry (CHE484). This course is a 2-credit seminar-style class that meets once a week. Students will learn about the roles that metals and inorganic compounds play in biology, from enzyme active sites to metal-based drugs and environmental toxins. Motivated undergraduate upperclassmen can also enroll with instructor permission and an exceptions form (talk to Dr. Grice and your academic adviser)

Dr. French is teaching a 4-credit MS course (CHE494) entitled Science Writing and Communication. This course is co-taught with Dr. Sarah Read from WRD.
The goal of this course is to prepare students to be effective writers and communicators in academic and industrial settings. The course is organized around learning how to write a scientific argument via modules that cover the nature of scientific fact, different genres of scientific writing (e.g., reports and proposals), writing collaboratively and presenting a scientific argument to a stakeholder audience. This class was highlighted recently in DePaul’s Newsline

Science Writing and Communication Poster Session

In the spring quarter of 2016, Dr. Sarah Read (WRD) and Dr. Timothy French (CHE) taught a new course  CHE494 – Science Writing and Communication.  The course was developed to prepare students to be effective writers and communicators in academic and industrial settings.

At the end of the quarter, CHE494 students participated in a poster session, where they designed and presented posters adapted from published literature articles of their choosing. The objective of the poster session was to mimic the experience of attending and presenting a research poster at a conference.

The idea behind this course, which is a product of a Collaborative Instruction Fellow Stipend, is to teach students strategies to confidently tackle rhetorical problems within their domain of expertise, which is chemistry in this case. This is often difficult to accomplish in writing courses or science courses alone. By bringing together subject matter experts in both fields, this team-taught course combines both fields in an immersive classroom experience.

Here’s a look at the end-of-quarter poster session:

What: CHE494 Poster Session
When: Wednesday, June 1, 5-6 pm
Where: McGowan South, 3rd Floor

 

 

Students: Use Your Resources!

Hello DePaul Students, Alumni and Friends! Dr. Grice here (@GriceChemistry). One thing we always tell our students in our classes is to use their resources to help them succeed. We want students to read their texts, come to class, go to course assistant (CA) and instructor office hours, and do practice problems so that they can improve. Everyone learns in a different way, so we want to give students various resources to learn how to tackle the concepts. But it doesn’t stop there. As a student you should be building your resume and networking while here at DePaul, so you can be prepared for your life after college (yes, it exists and we want to help you get there!). There are many resources on the internet that can be extremely valuable for other important parts of a student’s time here at DePaul (and beyond). In addition, if you start doing research or plan to go into a research/bench chemistry position, there are many great resources to help you learn about your projects and tackle the challenges that chemistry research throws at you. Maybe you need to write a thesis or research paper and you want to know how approach writing such a large document.  Maybe that TLC or column is giving you a lot of trouble. There are resources out there to help!

The Catalyst is a home for links to many resources to help you succeed.

We want the The Catalyst to be your go-to place for online resources. You will find many under the Links to Resources tab at the top of the page. We will try to keep the links updated as new tools come up, so go ahead and bookmark it! We’ve sorted them by area where they may be useful to you and have only included links to things that we have read and/or used ourselves. There’s a lot of not-so-great stuff out there on the internet and we want to help you sort through it by giving you this resource. Future posts to The Catalyst will be dedicated to introducing you to many of these. In the meantime, visit Links to Resources and dive in! All the best, -Dr. Grice

Here are a few links that I have put together for you based on input from faculty and staff.

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