The 43rd Annual Science Atlantic/Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) Student Chemistry Conference — more commonly known as ChemCon 2018 — was held at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, NS on June 7-9, 2018. This annual conference provides an opportunity for top undergraduate and graduate chemistry students from across Atlantic Canada to showcase their research and network with students from other institutions.

This year’s conference hosted over 200 delegates, with just over 110 student presentations in the form of both talks and posters. Representatives were present from 12 schools: Saint Mary’s University, Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, St. Francis Xavier University, University of New Brunswick, Université de Moncton, Queen’s University, and University of Toronto.

To contribute to the ‘Going Green’ theme of ChemCon 2018,  two leaders in the field of green chemistry were invited as keynote speakers: John Warner, founder and president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, and Philip Jessop, professor of chemistry at Queen’s University and technical director at GreenCentre Canada. Both speakers gave inspiring keynote lectures, leaving the audience with many new tools and ideas on how to move forward through their own research in a more sustainable way. This year’s conference also included three discussion panels focusing on women in STEM, green chemistry, and employment in chemistry.

The conference included oral presentations from over 50 students and a poster session featuring over 60 student posters; the presentations included research in all fields of chemistry. The poster session ran concurrently with an industry and graduate school fair, which had representatives from National Research Council Canada, Federation of Canada’s Professional Chemists, Nova Scotia Chemists’ Society, Dalhousie University, Brock University, University of Alberta, McGill University, University of New Brunswick, and University of Calgary. With this broad representation, the industry and graduate school fair connected students with representatives from leading educational institutions, organizations, and industry, providing students and recent graduates with the chance to discover opportunities in chemistry available to them across Canada.

The closing awards banquet presented awards from the CIC, Science Atlantic, and the Canadian Association of Theoretical Chemists, recognizing 38 student winners. The Science Atlantic website has the full list of ChemCon 2018 award winners and a link to see photos from the conference. ChemCon 2019 is scheduled to take place at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS, and ChemCon 2020 will follow at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB.

 Kalei Crowell.

ChemCon 2018 delegates at the conference’s closing awards banquet. Photo credit: Kalei Crowell.

ChemCon 2018 was completely planned and run by student volunteers from Saint Mary’s University. The conference organizing committee was: Taylor Lynk (Conference Chair), Melanie Davidson (Treasurer), Kaitlyn Blatt-Janmaat (Fundraising Coordinator), Rafee Hossain (Food and Venue Coordinator), Jennifer Wright (Guest Speaker and Volunteer Coordinator), Jason d’Eon (Webmaster), Chandika Ramful (Judging and Awards Coordinator), Navya Kesavan (Graduate School Coordinator), and Dr. Kai Ylijoki (Faculty Supervisor).

We would not have been able to host such a successful conference without the incredibly generous support of our sponsors, including: Science Atlantic, SMU Chemistry Society, SMU Office of the President, SMU Alumni Office, SMU Dean of Science, SMU Department of Chemistry, Canadian Society for Chemistry, CIC Organic Chemistry Division, Canadian Association of Theoretical Chemists, BioVectra, CIC Chemistry Education Division, CIC Chemical Education Fund, Maritime CIC Local Section, The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites, CIC Analytical Chemistry Division, CIC Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Division, CIC Inorganic Chemistry Division, CIC Physical, Theoretical, and Computation Chemistry Division, CIC Materials Chemistry Division, Newfoundland and Labrador CIC Local Section, Solid State Pharma, Kris Tynski Photography, Regroup, Federation of Canada’s Professional Chemists, Nova Scotia Chemists’ Society, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

We would like thank everyone for attending ChemCon 2018!