Tuesday, November 26, 2019

AOCS China Section Conference recap

Janet Brown, Director, Membership, attended the 2nd AOCS China Section Conference in Guangzhou (Canton), China, earlier this month. Here's her recap of the meeting!

A few weeks ago, I had the honor and privilege of attending the 2nd Congress of the AOCS China Section. I was among more than 300 professionals and students who were there to present, learn and make connections with researchers from China, Malaysia, Canada, Europe and USA. In fact, the organizing committee was really proud of the global impact of this meeting, because nearly 33% of the presenters were from outside of China.

The 2019 AOCS China Section Conference: Health, Advanced Processing and Value-Added Utilization was held in the beautiful southern China city of Guangzhou. Other co-hosts included Northeast Agricultural University, South China University of Technology and Jinan University. The conference was chaired by Lianzhou Jiang (China Section, Chair), Xuebing Xu, Keshun Liu, Guoqin Liu, Yong Wang and Yuanfa Liu.

On Friday, November 8, nearly 40 people attended the Practical Short Course on Advanced Technologies in Oilseed Processing, Edible Oil Refining and Oil Modification. The room was packed and included speakers from nine companies (all AOCS Corporate members!). Longtime AOCS members Ignace Dubruyne and Sefa Koseoglu were the organizers (and also presented during the conference).

Friday evening, the AOCS China Section Board convened. Many items were discussed and decisions made. Also during the meeting, two additional Vice Presidents of the Section were named: Guoqin Liu and Yong Wang. Four new advisory council members were added: Dayong Zhou, Hui Zhang, Xiuhuan Yu and Mingming Zheng.

The final decision of the night — thanks to the persuasion of Keshun Liu (I love his passion for the Society) — was to hold the next China Section conference in Shanghai 2021 (more details soon). 

Saturday started bright and early with a career development session for students and young scientists. Despite the time, nearly 65 people attended to learn more from several highly regarded AOCS members and leaders in their disciplines:
  • Tong Wang talked about how to make the most of a scientific society.
  • Doug Hayes, incoming editor-in-chief of the Journal of Surfactants and Detergents and Eric J. Murphy, current editor-in-chief of Lipids, shared insights on how to improve the chances of getting your article published.
  • Xuebing Xu explained what corporations value the most — he emphasized the importance of having a great attitude.
  • Kangming Ma provided tips on making connections and growing your networking through LinkedIn and other sites.

After the career development session, the conference kicked off with a Plenary Session. During the entire day, there were many sessions to attend, with topics covering nutrition, biocatalysis, lipid oxidation, analysis, enzyme application and development, processing of oils, and much more. In total, over 70 presentations were given over the course of one and a half days, of which 12 presenters won a "Best Paper Award" and three won "Best Poster Award." The winners were identified Saturday evening during the enjoyable and entertaining Gala. In fact, I think we all thought the Gala was a big "thumbs up!"

Throughout my time in China, I felt the influence of the tight-knight AOCS family. It was wonderful spending time with AOCS members and volunteer leaders, including Cas Akoh, former AOCS President and AOCS award-winner; Chibuike Udenigwe, Protein and Co-Products Division Vice-Chair; Nuria Acevedo, a leader of the AOCS Professional Educator Common Interest Group; Eric Murphy and Doug Hayes, our amazing journal editors-in-chief; Tong Wang, member of the Books and Special Publications Committee (and passionate about membership!); Carl Arevang, Larodan — the company who always sponsors the AOCS fun run; and so many more that I cannot list them here.

The conference concluded with a quick photo stop at Jinan University and a tour at South China University of Technology.

The meeting flowed wonderfully and was well organized, thanks to the detailed and endless (I don't think he slept) work of AOCS China Section Secretary-General Xiaonan Sui. Thank you! Please get to know more about him by reading this Member Spotlight posted on AOCS inform|connect (login required).

Thank you to all the organizers for bringing together fats, proteins and oils researchers in Guangzhou this past November. What a wonderful event. Please contact me if you have any questions about Sections, this meeting or anything else.

Friday, November 15, 2019

AOCS and JOCS sign Memorandum of Understanding at JOCS Headquarters

It's official! AOCS and JOCS signed the Memorandum of Understanding announced in October to mutually adopt selected official analytical methods and a Recommended Practice as joint JOCS/AOCS Methods. Scott Bloomer, Director, AOCS Technical Services, represented AOCS at the signing ceremony. Two joint AOCS-JOCS Methods and a Recommended Practice are now available in the AOCS store:
  • Method Ch 3a-19 allows users to determine the fatty acid occupying the 2-position in triglycerides.
  • Method Cd 29d-19 allows users to detect monochloropropanediol (MCPD) esters and glycidol esters (GEs) in edible oils. 
  • Recommended Practice Cd 29e-19 allows users to quantify MCPD esters and glycidol esters in fish oils. 
 Here are some photos from the ceremony!

Team members involved in this effort from left to right: 
  1. Yoshitaka Miyamae, Director, Technical and External Relations, Lion Corp.
  2. Kouichi Asakura, PhD, President of JOCS and Professor, Dept. Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University
  3. Yukihiro Kaneko, JOCS Managing Director, Secretary General
  4. Scott Bloomer, Director, AOCS Technical Services
  5. Yusahi Endo, PhD, Professor, School of Science, Tokyo University of Technology and head of JOCS Methods Committee
  6. Kazuo Koyama, PhD, Senior Staff, Information, Recommendation and Public Relations Division, Food Safety Commission Secretariat Cabinet Office, Government of Japan
  7. Yomi Watanabe, PhD, Chief Research Scientist, Osaka Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology
  8. Yusuke Hasegawa, Assistant Manager, Analysis & Assessment Group, Central Research Laboratory


Congrats to everyone involved in this effort!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Mentorship advice for young professionals

Guest post by Leann Barden, co-chair of the AOCS Young Professional Common Interest Group

Mentors are wonderful resources. I have had many mentors in my life and have found them in many different places — an aunt, my Girl Scout leader, teachers and graduate school professors, “big buddies” assigned through work, trusted managers, veteran colleagues I met in the food line at the AOCS President’s Welcome, and even a woman I met on an 8-hour Amtrak ride while moving from DC back to Massachusetts. At its core, mentorship is simply a relationship built on trust, typically between a less seasoned individual and a veteran one. Mentors are typically older than their mentees, but a mentor is really anyone who has more experience in an area you want to learn.

While everyone recognizes the value of mentorship, many of us struggle to establish strong mentor/mentee relationships. The title alone seems somewhat daunting — am I qualified to be someone’s mentor? How do I ask someone to be my mentor? Here are some tips, tricks, and questions to get you started — all based on my personal experiences — as well as some additional resources. Enjoy!

Finding a Mentor
Step 1: Talk to people. When you are at a networking event, try introducing yourself to people you have not yet met and ask them about their careers. If you are new to a company, set up “meet-and-greets” with people. You should ask your manager when you are first hired about people you should meet in order to better do your job, but you can also set up these meet-and-greets with literally anyone else you meet in the company, even if it is just someone with whom you struck up a great conversation while waiting in the cafeteria checkout line.

Step 2: Of these people you have now met, consider who you found both interesting and approachable (i.e., easy to talk to). Is it someone who recently got a promotion and might be able to give you advice on that process? Is it a more senior scientist who currently holds your dream job, and you want to know what experiences you need to one day hold that position yourself? Or is it someone who seems to be masterfully juggling work and family when you yourself are just starting a new life stage and feeling a bit frustrated? Of all the meet-and-greets you are having, you will inevitably find that a single meeting or two might suffice for answering your questions, but other people seem to offer great advice on numerous fronts, and you keep returning to them with questions. The latter are your mentors.

Step 3: Build a relationship. Mentors can help you best if they know who you are — what interests you; what scares you; what experiences you have had and still want to have; etc. They are also most likely to be invested in your development if they like you as an individual, which requires building a relationship. To respect your mentor’s time, try to meet for only 30–60 minutes at a time, generally speaking. I would say I have four close mentors right now. Two are from previous jobs, and we chat via phone or have lunch maybe 2–3 times per year, with a few short emails in between to keep the relationship going (“I got married! Here’s a picture from the wedding.” Or maybe, “I just talked to a direct report about XYZ, and it reminded me of that time you helped me with ABC.”). I currently work with the other two mentors, so we will do lunch or coffee on maybe a bimonthly cadence. I always come with a few questions for my mentor because that is the reason we are meeting, but I also take time to learn about their lives because (1) I care about their lives, and (2) you don’t want to just fire off question after question; that is bad for relationship building and makes for a tedious conversation. Recognize that this person is taking time from their busy schedule and be sure to thank him or her accordingly.

Questions to Get You Started

First couple of meetings:
1.    How did you get into your current role?
2.    Where else have you worked?
3.    Tell me about your family/hobbies/etc.

Subsequent meetings: I’m struggling with….
1.    Have you been in a similar situation?
2.    Can you recommend any resources?
3.    You work with closely with (my boss). Do you have any advice for managing up with him/her?

Learn more tips for a successful mentoring relationship, provided by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

A few additional resources:
1.    Mentoring Matters. Three Essential Elements of Success.
2.    Keys to Successful Mentoring Relationships.
3.    The National Marketing Partnership website.
4.    The Dos and Don’ts of Mentoring.
5.    A Guide to Understanding the Role of a Mentor (it’s different than coaching).