The NSW RACI President's Letter - November 2021
It is wonderful to be reaching out to you all for the first time as the incoming NSW Branch President. It is an exciting time for all of us in NSW as we emerge from lockdown and can enjoy the return of relative normality to our lives. On a personal note, my family and I are excited about being able to visit family in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region that we haven’t seen for more than 6 months.
To start I want by acknowledging the tremendous contribution that Danny Wong has made over the last 3 years as President of the NSW branch. Danny has shown remarkable leadership while weathering the challenges of the COVID pandemic, in particular the impact it has had on our organisation like the RACI that is driven by face-to-face events. In 2019 Danny approached me about taking on the President-Elect role and then taking up the President’s role in 2020. While I was initially reluctant to take on the role due to commitments to a young family, Danny agreed to stay in the role of president for an additional year so I was in a better position to fully commit to the role in 2021. Please take the time to thank Danny for his service to the RACI, hopefully in a face-to-face meeting in early 2022.
I am honoured to be taking on the branch president’s role and I am keen to get to know our members over the next two years to understand how the NSW Branch of the RACI can better deliver to your expectations, help strengthen the chemistry community in NSW and grow participation and membership. Please feel free to reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or connect on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/nigel-lengkeek) to start a conversation. I’ll kick off by telling you a little bit about me. I work as a senior radiochemist at ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) and have been there for over 11 years after moving from Perth to Sydney in mid-2010. I lead a team focused on the development and translation of radiopharmaceuticals and radioactive medical devices, primarily in the oncology space. My partner is a primary school teacher and we have two young kids keeping us on our toes all the time. I love involving them in cooking, baking and gardening in our home veggie patch.
The annual branch AGM was held virtually on the 20th October and attended by over 20 people. Our guest speaker Assoc. Prof. Danielle Skropeta from the University of Wollongong and recipient of the RACI’s 2020 Margret Shiel Leadership Award delivered a wonderful presentation titled ‘A Career in Chemistry: From the Alps to Antarctica and peaks and valleys in between’. Danielle shared with us her incredibly diverse journey through science and academia. She highlighted the progress we have made in equity in chemistry, but also reminded us we still have a lot of work to do. Thank you, Danielle for your wonderful presentation and your continued contributions to the RACI and the chemistry community. The branch committee for 2022 will be Maree Stewart (President-Elect), Danny Wong (Immediate Past President), Jessica Veliscek Carolan (Honorary Secretary), Sinead Keaveney (Honorary Treasurer) and elected members David Springer, William Li, Saji Cuhawijay, Vipul Agarwal, Aleksei Marianov and David Edmonds, thank you all in advance for your contributions.
Looking forward to 2022, I am excited about the prospect of the branch restarting face-to-face events once again and getting out to share a meal, a drink and plenty of great conversations and laughs with our community. On that note I would like to let you all know that the 2021 President’s dinner has been rescheduled to the 25th February 2022 to accommodate any lingering uncertainty that our members may have in attending face-to-face events. In the coming months I look forward to sharing with you announcements about upcoming events and highlights from the events that are members are getting out to. In the meantime stay safe and stay well.