Non-Traditional Careers in Chemistry

Non-Traditional Careers: What Else Can I Do With a Chemistry Degree?

The symposium attempted to showcase a variety of career paths that are available to chemists either straight out of school or as a career change later in life.

The first speaker was Antony Williams, the creator of ChemSpider ( His first message was “follow your head and heart when making career decisions!” and his second observation was that “great careers don’t just happen – they are created by you.”

Slides of his presentation are available at:

The next speaker was Bill Milne, a retired chemist and former editor of the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (1989-2004), who has found a second career teaching scientists how to present their ideas effectively, i.e. how to write better papers!!

Sarah Hasford, a patent lawyer with Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz, LLP, began as a patent examiner before returning to law school. She outlined the joys and frustrations of the examiners that need to review each patent – sometimes they can be very specialized down to only doing certain types of drug patents and sometimes they can be more varied.

Norman Schmuff, Associate Director for Product Quality in the Drug branch of the Food and Drug Administration, told the audience about his path from lab to product quality.

Patricia Meindl, a University of Toronto chemistry librarian, described a career spent in both government and academic science libraries.

The symposium also premiered two videos in a series of interviews that had been created via the ACS Innovative projects fund grant. The first was an interview with David Martinsen from ACS Publications and the second was with Thomas Krimmer, who until recently was the marketing manager for the chemistry publications of Thieme Publishers – he has recently moved within the company to now head the marketing of the medical publications.

Patricia Meindl, Symposium Organizer, Chair, CINF Career Committee

A recorded presentation by Antony Williams from this symposium is available at the ACS Learning Center (