Issue Date: November 24, 2008
Kudos to C&EN for publishing two reviews of books on careers in chemistry and science within a month (C&EN, Sept. 29, page 44; Oct. 20, page 64). Although I haven't had a chance to see it yet, congratulations to Emily Monosson for writing an excellent book, "Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory: Women Scientists Speak Out." And kudos to Geraldine Richmond for writing an excellent review emphasizing the need for mentoring for careers in chemistry, especially "alternative careers."
I, and other chemists working in alternative careers, have stressed the need for broader based career mentoring, beginning in high school and progressing through college, grad school, and beyond. Both men and women need to be made aware of how valuable an education in chemistry is to a wide variety of careers and professions. All too often, teachers, professors, and research colleagues give the impression to students, especially "promising" ones, that not to go into academia or laboratory research is akin to "buying the farm" and dropping out professionally.
Inspired by Lisa M. Balbes' book "Nontraditional Careers for Chemists," the Careers Committee of the ACS Division of Chemical Information has been working for years on providing resources for broader based career mentoring for chemists (www.acscinf.org/, click on "Committees" then "Careers"). We encourage all chemists to be aware of the wealth of career opportunities available to chemists. Help us spread the word.
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