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Adhesion Society Welcomed Diverse Group to Annual Meeting

In February, professionals in academia, industry, and government gathered to share the latest research and development in adhesion science at the Adhesion Society’s 2024 Annual Meeting, which took place this year in Savannah, Georgia. Some 260 attendees encountered a compelling program that offered over 150 presentations covering a range of topics, from organismal and biomimetic adhesives to adhesives in transportation to fracture mechanics. Other topics of interest were the role adhesives play in making products more sustainable and adhesion in additive manufacturing.

 

Award Presentation and Symposium

Among the highlights of the event was the symposium honoring the 2024 Award for Excellence in Adhesion Science recipient, which took place on Sunday afternoon. The symposium recognized Dr. Timothy Long. Long is currently a professor of chemistry in the School of Molecular Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU) as well as the center director for the ASU Biodesign Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing. According to the society’s 2023 Adhesion Connection newsletter, Long was recognized for “his innovative research in polymer chemistry and design as well as his impactful work manipulating and tailoring adhesion at the molecular level.”

Also recognized during the Sunday afternoon session was Katharine Jensen, the Early Career Adhesion Scientist Award recipient. Jensen is an associate professor of physics at Williams College. Her presentation discussed elastocapillary adhesion in soft gels.

 

Networking and Mentorship

The society is an inclusive and welcoming organization that encourages, both formally and informally, mentoring of younger scientists. University professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students, as well as professionals in industry and government had many opportunities to network and share ideas. Special events were planned to encourage attendees to mingle and talk, including a Women’s Networking Reception and a Young Researcher Networking event. The annual meeting also offered a poster session and reception that featured 27 poster presentations of the latest innovations.

Nick Shephard, the current president of the Adhesion Society, explained his experience with the society and the annual meeting, “I’ve been coming for 30 some years. And repeatedly, people say they learned so much, and they establish mentorships immediately and feel very welcomed.”

 

Diversity and Sustainability

The society also includes scientists from many areas of the world. Among attendees of this year’s conference were scientists from Asia and Europe. It is estimated that over 15% of attendees came from outside the United States. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) was another topic that received a deep dive at the event. In a session devoted to DEI, Kim Felix, outgoing diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for the society, provided a report on the current efforts to expand its DEI initiatives, including work to engage with communities around society meeting locations.

Shephard explained how the organization is focusing on issues of diversity and sustainability, “We’ve added two chairs that are specifically looking at sustainability and inclusion. We have a very good foundation started there. We are looking at local impact. Wherever we’re having the annual meeting, we’re looking to be engaged with that community and making sure ahead of time that they know we’re coming. And we might be offering some opportunities for the local community to be engaged and learn about the teaching of science and what we do in the society.”

The Adhesion Society Annual Meeting is an opportunity to see all facets of adhesion science, as it brings together scientist from many disciplines. Joelle Frechette, outgoing president of the society summed it up this way, “Adhesion is really multidisciplinary. This meeting really brings a bunch of different scientists from different disciplines. The only way we can address or solve problems is by working together. This meeting is perfect for that. With industry, government and academia, it’s a very intellectually diverse group. And that’s really what makes it fun.”

The 2025 Adhesion Society Meeting is scheduled to take place in New Orleans in February 2025. Visit www.adhesionsociety.org for membership information and event updates as they become available.

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