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Mason NOBCChE chapter attends national conference

Students at NOBCChE conference
Students attend National NOBCChE conference. Pictured from left to right: Kylia Butler, Xia Parkes, Carissa Hunter, Nia Pollard, Brandi Williams, A'Laura Hines, and Brandon Speed. Photo provided.

“It felt like a family reunion,” “I’ve never seen so much Black excellence in one setting,” “I feel as though I’m truly seen.”

These are just some of the quotes from the Mason students who attended NOBCChE’s (National Organization of the Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) 50th National Conference in New Orleans, from September 11 through the 14. The conference kicked off on a high note with the social event, “Regional Mixer,” where the attendees were introduced to the National Executive Board of NOBCChE and other members from across the five regions. As a special treat, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry PhD students Carissa Hunter, Secretary, and Brandi Williams, President, received special praise as the outgoing and newly elected student representatives, respectively, for the Northeast region of NOBCChE.

Graduate students Brandon Speed, Brandi Williams, Carissa Hunter, A’Laura Hines, and Nia Pollard were selected to present their research in podium and poster presentations. Two undergraduate executive board members, Kylia Butler and Xia Parkes, were also fortunate enough to attend the conference. With this being their first conference, their experiences have inspired them to continue onwards toward being future scientists and leaders.

The students also attended two very touching, uplifting, and empowering luncheons where they heard from Black chemists and their journeys in STEM. The conference ended with a gala, with inspirational keynote speaker Dr. Mae Jemison, the first Black woman to travel into space.

The week was filled with incredible technical sessions, beneficial career workshops, and networking opportunities with esteemed professionals. This conference has exponentially enhanced NOBCChE’s professional capabilities, and the students cannot wait to return again next year.