SAS Candidate Profiles 2020

Officers

 

 

President-Elect

Andrew Whitley

Biography

Andrew’s (AW) career has focused on spectroscopy. He is currently the VP for Business Development at HORIBA in NJ, where he has worked since 2000. His qualifications include a PhD Chemistry, University of Durham, UK. AW has been active with SAS and FACSS since he moved to the US. He has authored many papers, articles and book chapters describing the use of spectroscopy. He is a regular presenter and session organizer at SciX, Pittcon, IFPAC and other global conferences. At SciX, AW has organized sessions on many spectroscopic topics. In 2018 AW became the Marketing Chair for SAS, responsible for Membership, Publicity, and Web and was awarded the Mann Award by FACSS. Recently AW has focused on the development of analysis methods for microplastics (MP’s). In 2019 he co-organized a major workshop on MP’s at SCCWRP in CA, organized two special SAS sessions MP’s at SciX, and is now an associate editor for a special issue of AS on MP’s. AW is an SAS At-Large Elected Governing Board Delegate.

 

Why should you be elected?

Through my role as SAS Marketing Chair I have shown many of you how hard working & dedicated I am to the growth & success of SAS. The key to making SAS stronger is to have well defined goals for each initiative supported by passionate hard working committees. As Marketing Chair I have: created & organized a strong marketing team; initiated the training group led by Ellen Miseo; ensured a strong membership effort, including the new early career membership, led by Brooke Kammrath; the Web Committee has been re-staffed, led by Lynn Zhang & Shawn Chen, we will make our website a more dynamic resource. The good work of Fay Nicolson, has enhanced our social media presence, Fay is now asked to lead an effort to manage & expand journal-derived content to promote SAS/AS to a wider audience. SAS can become again the core go to resource for spectroscopy in NAM & globally. If elected, I will work hard to expand the resources, services & profile of SAS. I ask for & hope that I have your support.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

Assessment of what SAS does well needs to be carried out with recognition of & comparison to our charter. The first listed core mission is to “advance & disseminate knowledge & information concerning the art & science of spectroscopy & other allied sciences”. This mission is largely fulfilled through AS and SciX. The transition to Sage as publisher has put the journal on a solid platform for continued success. At SciX SAS helps “promote & maintain a close bond among our members”, through social & scientific networking. SAS merit awards & grants help achieve “advancing of the professional standing & growth of SAS & its members”. Through the strong efforts of Shawn Chen & Luisa Profeta, our monthly newsletter is an excellent resource for our members to stay updated with the activity of each other. The professional advancement, networking & collaboration goals of SAS can also be met by members serving SAS. Thanks to all members who continue to serve SAS, I encourage more members to help.

 

What does SAS need to do better and how?

My intent is to reverse the declining membership trend, to at least double our membership over the next 3 years. We must make it obvious that the benefits of membership easily outweigh the relatively small costs. The Early Career category will better serve the needs of graduating student members & attract new spectroscopists. We need to increase our global profile & have therefore launched a China initiative, and recently we also began plans to launch an EU initiative. SAS should develop through the training committee ongoing & customized spectroscopy training including course-based certification at several levels. We need to better utilize AS content to promote SAS and AS. We will continue to overhaul our website to make it more dynamic & user friendly. Finally, while SAS remains financially sound, we are facing a changing environment for journals & societies. It is important that we remain fiscally responsible & look to create new revenue streams to replace those are risk.

 

What initiatives do you hope to pursue?

In my answers above, I described a number of initiatives that we have already started or about to start. I also plan to launch an initiative called “One SAS” to brand & increase the profile of SAS in North America & around the world. This initiative is to encourage all our members & partners to work together to communicate the SAS mission & benefits to colleagues & friends interested in becoming more proficient in spectroscopy & providing them with opportunities to network with fellow spectroscopists or spectroscopy users. We will launch “One Plus One” to encourage & reward members that spread the word of SAS to recruit new members, encourage publication in AS and provide content to promote SAS to a wider audience. Open Access/Plan S: We must proactively push open access initiatives that ensure a continued revenue stream whilst supporting the intent of Plan S to enable any author of a paper in Applied Spectroscopy a platform to deliver their research to the widest audience possible.

 

Why is SAS membership important?

To many the value proposition of being a member of SAS is a no-brainer. As we move to expand SAS, being a member will be even more rewarding. There is something bigger to being part of SAS that I want to communicate. I hold dear certain ideals important to live life by. One of these is Joy & Fun, everyone should enjoy their work. For most of us in SAS this is certainly an achievable & worthy goal in our life. SAS events are educational & “Fun”, we celebrate our successes together, we help each other when we need support; this is the “Joy” of community. I hope that our members utilize & contribute to SAS to the same level that I have been able to, it is important we provide them with the means to do so. My motivation to run is to facilitate SAS to provide the education, collaborations & friendships that all our members require, bringing Joy & Fun to our members. If I achieve this, I will leave behind a much stronger SAS & home for spectroscopists to gather together for decades to come.

 

 

Secretary

Ian Lewis

Biography

Ian R. Lewis is the current Secretary of SAS. He has been a member of SAS since 1992, served as president of the Detroit section (multiple occasions), Society President in 2014, chair of several SAS National committees, delegate to the GB, a liaison between FACSS & SAS, member of the Executive committee, a tour speaker and Co-editor of the 60th Anniversary Special Issue of Appl. Spectroscopy. He is a Fellow of SAS (2011) and received SAS’s Distinguished Service Award (2018). In parallel he has served other spectroscopy organizations.

He obtained his degree in Chemistry and Chemical Technology at the University of Bradford in 1989, his Ph.D. in 1992 under Professors Tony Johnson and Howell Edwards, and then was appointed as an Honorary Visiting Researcher. He postdoc-ed in Professor Peter Griffiths lab while also consulting on the application of Raman spectroscopy to several industrial companies. In 1996 he joined Kaiser Optical Systems and is currently Director of Marketing.

Why should you be elected?

I believe that SAS is in transition and what the Society offered in the past is not enough for today or tomorrow. I didn’t feel the future of the Society is secure, and I believe I can help secure that future. Membership, and Outreach beyond traditional spectroscopy circles has to be addressed if SAS is to achieve sustainable grow and strengthen. My agenda? “To pass on a stronger, well positioned, Society to the next generation of spectroscopists.”

I believe I bring a combination of leadership, vision, and action that will help strengthen SAS. As I said above, I believe SAS must address the challenges of short-term membership value, and communicating that value to the spectroscopy-using community. Defining and communicating that value for current members allows us to serve those members as well as allowing us to position the Society to bring in new members from existing as well as new areas of science. Progress has been made but there is much more I would like to contribute to.

What is SAS doing well and why?

The Society’s role is to provide a place where members of the spectroscopy community can come together for professional as well as personal growth.

Historically the three most-cited benefits of membership are

a. The members (peers, friends, mentors, or mentees)

b. Applied Spectroscopy

c. Events where there is member-on-member interaction and discussions. These events may be part of conferences, Local Section activities, etc.

This last category leads to a tangible community/family bond rather than a professional-only bond.

So we need to continue to provide these tangible benefits.

BUT before moving on lets also recognize that as travel budgets decrease, conferences increase in number & become more specialized, specialized journals are created, spectroscopy becomes more ubiquitous in our world, we, as a Society, must make time and devote effort to expanding and evolve our global and virtual reach. So how? I invite you to read on…

What does SAS need to do better and how?

SAS needs to positively differentiate itself and promote real value in membership, forgive the wording, across a truly board spectrum of people involved in spectroscopy. Not stooping to water down our spectroscopy credentials to our leading-edge research members but developing alternative vehicles/products/tools which provide value to practitioners of spectroscopy as well as improving our research offerings. Advertising and sponsorship remain important to SAS to allow us to meet our mission. However without a wider reach, and offerings that allow that reach to be delivered, we will shrink. As an organization SAS has been slow in aligning and acting on this, despite calls to actions from many, and have not invested aggressively enough in our future. Even before the advent of COVID-19, organizations either needed to demonstrate value and are deemed essential or fall into a lesser category of need. SAS needs to do better demonstrating its value.

 

What initiatives do you hope to pursue?

The first job of the secretary is to keep accurate minutes and provide them in a timely manner (about 14 reports annually).

In 2012 when I first ran for SAS I noted the need for change, better marketing. and a better on-line footprint. During my two spells on the EC some of the accomplishments are I negotiated the original agreement with Sage which netted SAS almost $350,000 (2019), created a marketing budget, participated in the 2019 Kaizen, and promoted SAS in events around the world.

If re-elected i would pursue improving the digital footprint of SAS and in doing so drive forward the technical blogs, FAQs, key paper highlights, videos, and webinars which I have identified before. While it took a while to put in place our web platform and our toolbox have now been updated to the point where these ideas can be delivered on. Another push would be where an independent international SAS group is not viable I would use my skills to forge partnerships with local spectroscopy orgs.

Why is SAS membership important?

Membership access puts you in contact with potential collaborators & mentors, membership in the Society allows you a forum to ask questions and get answers. SAS is a friendly society some might say a ‘’family” society and it’s based on respect. If you have a problem, then fellow member scientists will volunteer their help. If you come up with an idea that breaks the Laws of Physics someone will tell you AND in the right way (that encourages you to ask again when you just need help bending the Laws)!

I joined SAS as an international student member because of the journal. At that time it was the only benefit I received from my SAS membership. Today, membership allows me to interact with fellow members, the opportunity to support student members on their spectroscopy journey, to read Applied Spectroscopy, to highlight the power and value of spectroscopy in our “normal lives” and finally to be part of something that has long-term impact beyond my own career.

 

Secretary

David McCurdy

Biography

David earned a BS degree in chemistry from Northwest Missouri State University in 1979. After graduation, he worked at Streck Laboratories in quality assurance and left to attend graduate school at Kansas State University in 1983, earning a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry in 1987. That year he began working as a faculty member at Truman State University, earning the Professor in 2000. He also served as the Chair of Chemistry prior to retirement. He is presently a Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Iowa.

David is a 36-year member of SAS. He has served as a local section officer, organized sessions of presentations and served as the Employment Bureau Chairman for FACSS, was faculty advisor to the student SAS chapter at Truman State, and has served or chaired on several national SAS committees. He has co-authored 15 publications, a book chapter, and numerous presentations, most including undergraduate coauthors.

Why should you be elected?

As a member of SAS for 36 years now, I have derived a number of positive benefits not received by most organizations to which I have belonged. I have experience in my early career working in product development and quality assurance roles in a clinical lab manufacturer. I later spent more than 30 years teaching and doing research with undergraduate students. I also served in many different campus administrative roles and as chemistry department chair. These experiences, combined with my past local/national service in SAS give me a good understanding of the breadth of the membership and the challenges faced by SAS. I am at a position in my career where I feel I can give back a bit in service some of the many things I have derived from my membership and for the many members who took me under their wings as a young chemist.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

Applied Spectroscopy is published with high quality and its editors, past and present, are forward thinking in improving the quality, expanding readership and increasing the scientific impact. The newsletter is published with increasing creativity and interesting content. SAS continues to support Pittcon and SCIX, offering scientific and social opportunities. Short courses at these conferences continue to allow the society to reach out educationally. Significant strides have been made improving the “modern”, online footprint of the society and in reaching out to prospective members. SAS does an excellent job in recognition of scientific and societal contributions of its members. Most important, the “why” SAS is doing things well is the thing that keeps me involved. The accomplishments are a result of the stellar commitment and concern of the many volunteer SAS members working in concert with the national staff. Their dedication, time-commitment, and energy drive the things SAS.

 

What does SAS need to do better and how?

I believe SAS needs to continue to find ways to adapt to society’s increased reliance to online communication and interaction. It is made excellent strides in the last few years and needs to continue improving those ways. In doing so, we need to make a more concerted effort to reach out to young scientists to be members and to encourage their involvement in the society. They will bring an influx of energy, enthusiasm, vitality and new ideas. The challenge is how we can extend the personal and welcoming persona that attracted so many of us into being involved, especially in an overall society that is now more depersonalized than ever. This to me is the area most important. If one considers the other things noted in what the SAS does well, I believe the committees and groups vested with oversight of them are always looking for ways to continually improve them.

 

What initiatives do you hope to pursue?

In terms of initiatives, I would like to see a more concerted effort to attract, retain, and involve new members in the society. I believe finding ways to accomplish this needs to be put into the forefront. Without young members an organization will not continue to thrive. The welcoming nature and mentoring many of the older members provided me are a large part of my enthusiasm and volunteer contributions to SAS. In older days, much of this was accomplished through personal interactions and mentoring at scientific meetings or in local sections. In an increasingly on-line world, we need to work for new ways to maintain these inviting characteristics that I associate with SAS.

 

Why is SAS membership important?

Membership gives an opportunity to interact with other professionals who share common interests. It provides opportunities for educational growth, personal growth, and friendships. It gives a multitude of opportunities to serve and to help society and spectroscopy to advance through these efforts. The most important benefit, to me, is that it does so in a smaller professional community where members know you as an individual and the more experienced act as mentors to the “youngsters”. Moreover, the membership truly cares about your contributions. That is unique to many professional organizations.

 

Governing Board Delegates

Jose Almirall

Biography

José Almirall is Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science (CARFS) at FIU in Miami. Professor Almirall has authored one book and 145 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the fields of analytical and forensic chemistry (h-index ~ 44). Prof. Almirall’s research interests include fundamental analytical chemistry, atomic spectroscopy (LIBS), molecular spectroscopy (IR) and the development of analytical chemistry tools in forensic science. Jose first attended a FACSS meeting in 2002 and soon after joined SAS. He was a founding member of NASLIBS and was instrumental in NASLIBS joining FACSS as a society when he was the President of the NASLIBS. Jose has served on the FACSS board as a NASLIBS representative and currently serves on the NASLIBS Board of Directors. He has participated in many FACSS/SciX meetings over the years and served as the Program Chair for the SciX meeting in Reno, NV in 2014.

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

While the Society for Applied Spectroscopy has a vibrant, enthusiastic and loyal following from its members, we have experienced a continuing decline in membership numbers, as have other professional organizations over the last decade or so, for various reasons. The SAS leadership should make an effort to raise awareness of SAS and articulate the value proposition for SAS membership to a wider audience of spectroscopy scientists. The SAS, similarly, to FACSS, can be considered an umbrella organization that brings together molecular and atomic spectroscopists with related interests in a single forum.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

As a member of the governing board of the North American Society of LIBS (NASLIBS) and former president of NASLIBS, I can appreciate the benefits of having NASLIBS members also join SAS for the networking and other opportunities afforded as a member of SAS. I would propose for SAS to better engage some of the related and smaller societies such as NASLIBS with a plan that does not dilute the scientific identity of the more specialized spectroscopy societies, much like the relationship between The Coblentz Society and SAS currently. NASLIBS members would benefit from joining SAS and sharing the infrastructure already available at SAS.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

The official journal of SAS, Applied Spectroscopy, may want to offer a recurring and annual “special issue” devoted to particular disciplines (such as LIBS) to coincide with the SCIX meeting presentations. Before NASLIBS became one of the FACSS societies, special issues were published in Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy and in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. A regularly scheduled (annual) special issue in Applied Spectroscopy with a guest editor in one of the specialized and related spectroscopy disciplines would benefit both the specialized disciplines and also the SAS journal.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

SAS is an excellent forum for the scientific exchange of spectroscopy and related sciences. The networking opportunities and cross fertilization that transpires during SCIX and during other analytical chemistry conferences such as Pittcon should continue to be supported. SAS has a global reach and is widely recognized as the most influential spectroscopy society and this brand should be nurtured and proudly embraced.

 

Rina Dukor

Biography

Rina Dukor is the President & CEO of BioTools. Rina received Ph.D. in physical chemistry from University of Illinois, Chicago in 1991. Upon graduation, she joined Amoco (now Abbvie) and while in industry pioneered the introduction of aqueous IR spectroscopy to the biopharmaceutical industry and development of reflection infrared micro- spectroscopy for cancer diagnostics. And by bringing VCD to the market, Rina helped cement the use of VCD by major pharmaceutical companies. Rina has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers; several review chapters and is a holder of four patents. She is a recipient of several prestigious scientific Awards and serves on academic and commercial Boards including the Board of Visitors for LAS College at UIC and Scripps Florida. Rina began to volunteer for the Society during her graduate school education and over the last 20 plus years has served the Society in many capacities including President, Board Member, Focal Point Editor & numerous committees.

 

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

The Society has gone through several changes in the past few years with loss in finances, moving the office and changes in contract for the publication of the Journal. The Executive Committee, the GB and the Office addressed the issues with thought and good processes and the Society has turned the corner financially. The critical challenges now remain to some extent the same as they have been for 20 years - loss of membership. But we are also loosing more than that - we are loosing a spirit of volunteering. In the era of immediate satisfaction of information, open access journals and of availability of papers through 3rd parties - we must ask several key questions: (1) do we need / want to grow past our current numbers above 1100 members? why do we want to do that? (2) what truly do the current 1100 members want / need; (3) how can we sustain the Society financially and provide much needed networking and education opportunities?

 

How do we meet these challenges?

Although the membership has been constant for a few years, my thoughts are that instead of spending money on growing the membership numbers per se, let's make sure that we truly serve the current members' need. In these challenging times travel might be restricted so the Society should put efforts into virtual events - conference, short meetings, webinars, networking. We have the strength of the Journal and its authors - why not host webinar with a Focal Point presentation? We could have dedicated networking sessions - specialized say for particular field. Once the platform is available, there are lots of opportunities to help our members, such as a talk by someone looking for a job; or a new graduate. Or how about an on-line short course? The events could also be broadcast to scientific community at large with a minimal cost. And if focused, sponsors are more likely to support. And lastly, to restore the belief in Society, we must show by example, what volunteering in SAS is.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

As described above, now more than ever, we need to establish the platform for virtual events. This will not only bring new scientists to SAS (hopefully) but will serve the current members. We have also spent a lot of time in the past on mentoring. Can we expand it via the virtual platform? Maybe 'ASK a Spectroscopist' open 1-hour session? ' or a Round-table discussion on current issues - like Women in Sciences? or once a week 'I have a spectroscopy problem - can you help'?

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

The strength of SAS has always been its Journal and its people. The Journal continues to be the main reason why scientists join the Society. So we must continue to make sure that the best papers are published in the Journal; SAS does a GREAT job with Awards and recognition of its members; its website is informative; and its Program @ PittCON and FACSS feature up-to-date hot topics. Its member events are always a highlight and its new program on certification will help its industrial members.

The Society has always attracted many talented spectroscopists. The networking is its strength. But are we leaving some people behind? While serving on Nominating Committee this past year, we have struggled to find people willing to serve in its highest offices - Executive Committee - especially the office of the President. We must ask ourselves a question - WHY? It used to be an honor and a privilege to serve as a member of EC! What happened and most important how do we repair it?

 

Michael Epstein

Biography

I am currently a Research Chemist and Quality Manager for the Chemical Sciences Division at NIST. I was an associate professor of chemistry at Mount Saint Mary's University for 12 years and prior to that working for 30 years in the area of atomic and molecular spectroscopy, involved in the certification of approximately 200 Standard Reference Materials. I have been a member of SAS since 1974 and my activities in SAS have included at the national level: Conference committee chairman (1983); Treasurer (1984-1986); Videotape Education Program founder and coordinator (1983-1985); Editor, The SAS Spectrum Newsletter (1996-1998); and at the local Baltimore/Washington Section level: Education Program coordinator (1985,1989-1990); Secretary (1979-81); Treasurer (1981); Chairman-elect (1982-83); Chairman (1983-84); Delegate to the National SAS Governing Board (various years); webpage editor (1997 to the present time). Several years ago I received the SAS Distinguished Service Award.

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

We live in a different world from 30 years ago when local SAS sections were thriving. In the 1980s and early 1990s our local section had hundreds of members and our monthly meetings were well attended, in a few cases exceeding a hundred attendees. While there are still some very active sections, our section now has one meeting a year and we struggle to get more than a few to attend. The challenge is thus to adapt to an online world and at the same time facilitate the networking and friendships that were always a part of SAS membership.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

There is no easy answer. I’m sitting here at my computer teleworking and practicing social distancing, thinking that there is only one answer. It really requires individual effort on the part of members who are willing and more important, able, to dedicate their time to building up educational and networking resources for their fellow SAS members, thus drawing new spectroscopists into the society.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

The focus should be on educational and networking resources, particularly those that will help draw new members to SAS. SAS has moved into those areas, but the expansion of the webinar program and a strengthening of the technical sections are critical to the growth of the society.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

The journal is still the flagship of SAS highlighting state-of-the-art research and I’m glad to see innovations such as the certification program and the SAS LabTube Channel. The SAS National Office is still as responsive and helpful as ever. In the end, the one thing that hasn’t changed in 30 years has been the need for individual SAS members to make an effort to help grow the society, which is why I volunteered in a small way as a delegate.

 

 

Karen Esmonde-White

Biography

Karen Esmonde-White she earned her BS in Chemistry from Wheeling Jesuit University (1997), an MS in Chemistry (1999) and an M.Eng (2004) in Pharmaceutical Engineering from the University of Michigan. She currently is Food & Beverage Product Manager at Kaiser Optical Systems, Inc. Karen volunteers for professional societies, including the Society for Applied Spectroscopy and the Coblentz Society, serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several clinical and biomedical optics journals, and for FACSS. Karen is the 2019-2022 FACSS/SciX Marketing Chair. Karen has served as the Biomedical Program chair for the 2013-2017 SciX conference and was Program Chair for the 2018 SciX conference. She has served SAS as a member of the Governing Board (2016-current), Awards Committee (2009-2011, chair 2010, 2016-current), Meggers Award Committee (2012), Nominating Committee (2012-2014) and Tellers Committee (2013-2014, chair) and is eager to continue serve the Society as a Governing Board member.

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

The fact that my answer to this question in 2015 is still applicable speaks volumes. I believe that the Society’s lack of meaningful impact and clear value proposition stems from poor management of our budget. Responsible use of our income is a significant challenge facing SAS today. I will be a strong voice for transparency in budgetary matters and strongly question if the society is receiving a meaningful return on investment for its largest expenses which do not directly benefit our members.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

Cost-saving measures can provide immediate relief to the budget, and we need to continue on that path. I have seen that efficient and streamlined processes can provide high-quality member services on a limited budget. Money saved by cost-cutting measures would enable reinvestment in the Journal and in local and technical sections. Investment in local and technical sections would strengthen them by enabling initiatives to improve member experience or identify new membership benefits.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

In my own assessment of what makes a SAS membership worthwhile, I find beneficial aspects. These include keeping abreast of the latest technology in my subscription to Applied Spectroscopy and sponsored technical sessions at national conferences, the local sections, the SAS Speaker Tour, and recognizing research excellence through its awards. Expanding our technical program and workshop offerings at our national meeting, providing year-round training opportunities to members and early-career professionals through grants or networking opportunities, and strengthening local sections are actions that the national office can do to improve the value to its members.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

The SAS is a professional society run by volunteers. Spectroscopists young and old, in academia or industry, are the face of SAS. It is important to remember that, because SAS can be what we want it to be. I am encouraged by the next generation of SAS volunteers and leaders, who will guide our society in the coming years. Their enthusiasm, competence, and intolerance of nothing less than excellence will serve our society well as we face both internal and external challenges in the next couple of years.

 

Marisia Fikiet

Biography

I have only recently joined the society for applied spectroscopy, but I have been a practicing spectroscopist since working on surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy for my master’s in forensic science. I continued the trend and completed my Ph.D in chemistry with a focus on Raman spectroscopy and forensic science. Since then, however, I have turned to spectrometry, as a forensic toxicologist with the New York State Police. But spectroscopy still holds great scientific importance to me and is underrepresented in the forensic science field. I as a practicing forensic scientist I would like to join the SAS Governing Board as a delegate to bring a new perspective. This will be a new experience for me, but one I am looking forward to. I have attended many conferences, but none have been as beneficial to my career in science or as genuinely fun as SciX. I want to give back to the organization and conference that has taught me so much and offered so many opportunities for success and growth.

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

I believe that the biggest challenge facing SAS is expanding our community and encouraging membership. The next challenge is inspiring new and current members alike to engage with SAS and make us a better community. With our current state of quarantine I think everyone is beginning to realize the potential of online meetings, shared documents, and social media. Another challenge for SAS is to harness this technology literacy that has been thrust upon us, and use it to connect our membership.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

To meet these challenges and harness technology literacy for our benefit we could increase our continuing education and offer mentorship programs for graduates and undergraduates. Under continuing education we could offer more webinars and introductory videos on the basics of spectroscopy as well as other more advanced cutting edge material. Another possibility is linking continued membership with continuing education credit to ensure the overall fitness of our members. Offering a mentorship program for younger members would also help us grow our membership and engage our members.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

The new programs that are a possibility are the continuing education program and mentorship program. The goal of the continuing education program would be to help foster engagement in the SAS community by requiring a certain amount of continuing education points to be amassed throughout a specific time period. This is not meant to be prohibitive but more to help members stay with the most current research and to have them interact with the SAS more often. Credit could be given for a very wide range of activities including but not limited to, being in committees, creating webinars, publishing papers, watching webinars, or mentoring other members. This is where we can use the technological literacy to come up with creative ideas to foster connectivity throughout our entire membership. Mentorship is the other program I think is important. This will help encourage younger membership, and most importantly help them learn what a career in applied spectroscopy could look like.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

What SAS is doing right is creating the correct environment for all members to collaborate and create and perform great science. I am relatively new to SAS, but by just going to one SciX conference I felt the great community that SAS is building. I felt very included and encouraged to do great things and aspire to heights I had never contemplated. It made me want to be a better scientist and share this great community that I have found with others.

Michael George

Biography

Mike George received his PhD in 1990 from The University of Nottingham in UK. Following a Royal Society STA Fellowship at Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) in Tokyo Japan he was appointed at Nottingham as an Experimental Officer in 2003. He was promoted to Lecturer, Reader and in 2003 he was appointed to his current position as Professor of Chemistry. His research interests lie in Physical Inorganic Chemistry with particular emphasis on conventional and Time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy to elucidate reaction pathways and material properties and to undertake new chemistry. His work is summarized in more than 340 papers. His work has been recognized by several awards including recently the 2018 United Nations UNIDO Bronze Award for Research in Chemical Leasing and 2016 Meggers Award (SAS). He is an Associate Editor of Applied Spectroscopy and currently joint chair of the Molecular Spectroscopy SciX Sessions (2018-present).

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

The challenges that face SAS, like the world, have been turned upside down by COVID-19. Members are understandably worried about health, wellbeing and financial security with the result that commitment to SAS can be less of a priority. Despite unprecedented change, some the key challenges to SAS remain. (i) to be an organisation that remains relevant to its members and continues financially sustainable which depends on maintaining a successful journal and growing a vibrant membership. SAS needs to continue cultivating an active membership, not only increasing numbers but also participation and commitment of members. We need to work hard to increase the profile of SAS outside the Americas and to engage high-quality researchers both to join the Society and/or to publish their best work in Applied Spectroscopy.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

I believe there are several new and existing approaches that SAS should follow to address these challenges: (i) Communication - It is important to communicate the value that SAS offers to spectroscopists across the world; (ii) Globalisation: SAS needs to become more global, more interdisciplinary, and more collaborative. My recent experience in China can assist in this task; (ii) Development: It is key to encourage, mentor, develop and embrace early career researchers as they are the future (and present) of SAS; (iii) Education: SAS should be the go-to-place for resources and services for educators to deliver a rich and inspiring education in spectroscopy and (iv) Sustainability: SAS must have an increased focus on, the needs of sustainability particularly in terms of energy, food, future cities, human health, raw materials and feedstocks and water and air in order to improve the lives of people around the world now and in the future.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

There are many possible new programs but I focus on two: (i) Globalisation: SAS still needs to work hard to in increasing its profile outside of the Americas and to engage high-quality researchers both to join the Society and/or to publish in Applied Spectroscopy. There are relatively few SAS sections outside the US and we need to develop a strategy for increasing the number. Strengthening our international reach can only enhance SAS and I am keen to try and help to achieve this and (ii) Sustainability: In 2015, the UN adopted propsed 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. If achieved, these will fundamentally change the world for the better. Many, if not all of these goals, can be directly impacted by SAS activities and the goals could provide an extremely robust new context for future SAS participation at conferences and a guide for future directions of our journal, Applied Spectroscopy.

What is SAS doing well and why?

SAS is committed to education and to providing quality benefits to members worldwide and the objective of this Society is to advance and disseminate knowledge and information concerning spectroscopy. SAS has long and rich history as the premier spectroscopic information source for scientists. The SAS Certification Program has been a welcomed recent innovation and we should build on to enhance how the accreditation can become an increasingly recognised and valued measure of spectroscopic expertise. SAS has a loyal group of dedicated members across the breadth of analytical spectroscopy. We need to match this scientific breadth with geographical spread to exploit the excellence of our Society to the full. The journal continues to improve in these challenging times attracting new authors to showcase their work in our premier journal. Many loyal SAS members have been strongly influenced by their student experience of SAS has many successful students that facilitate this.

 

Jay Kitt

Biography

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah. I've been a member of SAS since 2012 and participating in spectroscopic research for a similar period of time. Since joining SAS, I have served as the chair of the University of Utah SAS student section, I've been a member of the Regional, Student, and Technical Affairs Committee, and the Teller Committee. I am currently serving in the Early Career Working Group, as Parliamentarian on the Executive Committee, and I have previously served as an At-Large Governing Board Member. I enjoy participating in the society and I am excited to continue serving on the governing board.

 

What are the challenges facing SAS?

Since joining SAS, I’ve met many great scientists and mentors, had fun experiences, and received valuable guidance from SAS members throughout my career. I think this is a core value of membership in SAS and it brings me to the biggest challenge I think we are facing: recruitment and retention of members. The latter is the place I think we can make the most rapid changes. We annually recruit student members through student events and discounted memberships. However, retention of student members is low. Largely, I think this reflects many young members are not having the experience I have. In-fact, I often hear those in my cohort wondering what why they should be members of a professional society other than paying to bolster their CV. To this end, I believe we must work to bring the benefits I have experienced with SAS to the forefront of our message. We are a community, a network of support and advice, and being a member of SAS is valuable.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

An approach to meeting this challenge is through an active, and interactive online presence. A true online forum for open discussion, where people can meet, and young members can interact with those more senior members to address scientific, questions, career questions, and even pursue job opportunities. By working to expand the society's activities in a way that connects members, and also starts conversations, I believe we can revive the image of the SAS as a hub for exchanging ideas and making the right connections to further the careers of our young members.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

We should pursue a broader online presence for SAS. If the events of this spring have taught us anything, it is the value of being able to continue communicating, even in trying times. This has been facilitated by great technology and SAS is underutilizing these avenues of communication and interaction.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

SAS publishes an excellent journal with a top-quality editorial staff. We have improved our acceptance-to-publication rate while continuing to publish quality science.

 

Mark Mabry

Biography

Mark Mabry is an applications scientist and service engineer with Agilent Technologies based in the Washington DC area.

After graduating with a BS in chemistry from Miami University of Ohio, Mark earned an MS in chemistry from West Virginia University where he his research was focused on Raman spectroscopic investigation of solute-solvent interactions.

Mark’s professional experience includes working as analytical chemist in environmental labs as well as in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, in addition to working for several molecular spectroscopy instrumentation manufacturers as an applications scientist and field service engineer.

Mark is a member of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy and the American Chemical Society. He served the SAS as the Tour Speaker Coordinator for 2014 and has been active in Sci-X conferences by organizing speaker sessions. He was also the Exposition chair for the 2011 Southeast Regional ACS meeting (Richmond, VA).

What are the challenges facing SAS?

One major challenge facing SAS is cultivating an active membership. Active membership is more than just people willing to pay dues. All organizations including scientific societies are only viable if there are active members willing to participate in events and volunteer their time to the growth of the society. Scientists are pulled in many directions today, and between work and personal responsibilities, we do not have extra time to devote to activities that do not have a clear purpose and benefit. Also, with travel costs increasing, attending long-distance meetings may need specific justification for members to receive financial support from their employers. Members need to be able to clearly connect how being a member of SAS benefits their career or advancement of the field of spectroscopy and feel invested in driving the future of the society.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

To meet the challenge of improving local sections towards promoting a more active membership, I would recommend an assessment of how local sections are currently doing, where are members located and could new local sections be encouraged in those areas, and finally what technologies or social media could be used to connect members when geography is prohibitive. We should explore the idea of virtual local sections or technical subgroups.

 

What new programs should SAS pursue?

The SAS should consider outreach and collaboration with similar scientific professional societies. For example, SAS local sections may be able to coordinate meetings with other technical societies such as the American Chemical Society local sections, as many members may belong to both. There are opportunities for the SAS to grow by offering value for membership, but the challenge is to make the benefits available despite time and resource conflicts that members face. In this way, SAS members can participate more fully in local section activities where members already frequently interact.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

The SAS strives to be an inclusive community with a diverse group of professionals from different academic disciplines and various scientific industries. Through our journal and conferences, we provide a venue where students and young professionals can develop their scientific skill sets and build professional networks.

 

Yukihiro Ozaki

Biography

Yukihiro Ozaki obtained his Ph.D in 1978 from Osaka University. After spending at NRC, Canada and Jikei University School of Medicine he moved to Kwansei Gakuin University in 1989. Since 1993 he was a professor in School of Science and Technology until the end of March, 2018. Currently, Ozaki is a professor emeritus of Kwansei Gakuin University.

His research programs have been concerned with basic studies and applications of far-ultraviolet (FUV), near-infrared (NIR), far-infrared (FIR)/Terahertz, and Raman spectroscopy. His spectroscopy research covers from basic studies of spectroscopy such as a theory of plasmon-enhanced Raman scattering, the development of new types of instruments to applications involving those to biomedical sciences, polymers, and nano materials.

He received several awards including Bomem-Michelson Award (2014), Chemical Society of Japan Award (2017), The Medal with Purple Ribbon (2018), and Pittsburg Spectroscopy Award (2019).

What are the challenges facing SAS?

I think the most important challenge facing SAS is to increase the number of SAS members. To this end, we have to consider four points. The first is to have more members from industries, government organizations, and instrument providers. We should expect them to play more active roles for SAS; for example, having presentations at SciX and writing papers in Appl. Spectrosc. The second is, of course, to collect young people and students, even undergraduate students. We have to consider clear benefits for them. Yet another is to welcome people from all over the world. SciX is international but I think the number of SAS members is not so many outside North America. The last but not least is to have more people from the fields of UV, NIR and Terahertz spectroscopy. Populations of NIR and Terahertz spectroscopists are fairly high but recently, not many of them attend SciX. We also should collect scientists in the field of higher energy UV spectroscopy, which is getting popular.

 

How do we meet these challenges?

To increase the number of SAS members, I think the most important thing is to consider the visualization of SAS. To strengthen its visualization I would like to propose four things. The first one is to strengthen Appl. Spectrosc. Recently, Appl. Spectrosc. tends toward a good direction but to make it more popular we have to consider increasing its impact factor more. I would like to propose more focal point articles, special issues, invited short reviews by young scientists, and cover articles.

SciX has been successful but still there is room for improvement. We have to increase the number of participants. One serious point is some sessions do not have enough audience. Thus, it is time to rearrange sessions. We should decrease some but at the same time we should consider new sessions which may be able to collect many participants. For example, terahertz spectroscopy. It is also important to strengthen the relationships between SAS and other spectroscopy societies.

What new programs should SAS pursue?

I think we should consider new programs within SciX and Appl. Spectrosc. What we have to do is just to strengthen these two major projects. I already describe new ideas for SciX and Appl. Spectrosc. But I can add one thing; SciX should have more awards for young scientists. We have many awards for established scientists and students. But awards for young scientists in the age group between 30 and 40 are not many. Also, we should consider awards for industry people.

 

What is SAS doing well and why?

I like very friendly atmosphere of SAS. SAS has been open for academia and industry, senior and young, men and women and all over the world. We should keep this friendly atmosphere; at the same time we must be careful not to lose academic atmosphere. I think SciX and Appl. Spectrosc. are the most important things for many of members, although there are many other attractive things such as SAS training courses, networking with friendly and approachable scientists and local activities. Other important point is that SAS emphasizes not only applied spectroscopy but also basic spectroscopy. For spectroscopy always both basic science and applied science are important. SAS must play an important role in bridging between basic science and applied science and in bridging between academia and industries.