3 questions for Agathe Chambe, Vice Presidents on the “Careers in Chemistry” Forum committee

Forum Horizon Chimie (“Careers in Chemistry”) is an annual fair that brings together around 40 companies from the chemical industry and more than 1,500 visitors (engineering students, university students, recent chemistry graduates) keen to apply for jobs or internships or find out about the different companies present.

The Forum is organised by four graduate chemistry schools, all of which are members of the Fédération Gay-Lussac: Chimie ParisTech, ESPCI Paris, ENSIC and ECPM. This year’s event took place on 6th February, at the Maison de la Chimie conference centre in Paris.

We interviewed Agathe Chambe, one of the Vice Presidents on the committee

Was this year’s edition of the fair a success? How many visitors attended? What were the highlights?

This year’s event was the 34th edition of Forum Horizon Chimie. It was held on 6th February 2020 at the Maison de la Chimie, and we welcomed over 1,200 visitors. The number of visitors has increased steadily over the last few years, and we hope it will continue to do so. Visitors benefited from a diverse range of opportunities thanks to the 45 companies – all from the chemistry sector – that attended the event. A series of conferences were held throughout the day. Many of these focused on topics such as green chemistry and sustainable development, which reflects the efforts currently being undertaken within this industry to find more environmentally-friendly solutions.

On a more personal level, what did you get from the experience?

The experience taught me a lot about myself and my work capacity. Juggling study and assignments with the organisation of an event like this wasn’t always an easy task. I learned a lot about managing a team and about group work, because in total around 40 students were involved in organising the event. All of the four schools were represented. The Forum really boosted my self-confidence, and I’m no longer daunted by the prospect of communicating with companies and professionals, because that was a significant part of our role as organisers. Finally, the Forum taught me how to bounce back when confronted with problems, how it’s always possible to find alternative solutions, and how to handle unforeseen situations.

How did things work in terms of coordination between the four schools? What was the benefit in working with students from other schools?

The Forum is organised solely by students. Each school puts together a team of around 10 students, and every student has a specific role. The four teams then appoint a Vice President as their representative on the National Committee. The positions of President, Treasurer and Secretary are held by students from a different school each year.

These individuals are responsible for establishing links between the different schools and coordinating the overall actions of the teams. The teams also communicate directly with one another as required.

This collaborative structure means that everyone involved learns how to work with new people, and is a great opportunity to find out more about the different schools and the specialist areas and opportunities they offer.

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