The NSW RACI President's Letter - September 2021

Dear members,


Disappointingly, New South Wales is still in lockdown since the end of June!  Restrictions are only likely to be relaxed after achieving some vaccine targets.  It is definitely becoming more challenging for many to cope in this extended lockdown.  I sometimes find myself forgetting which day of the week is after hibernating at home for a long period!  Therefore, it is important for all of us to stay active and to take plenty of breaks from the routine work.  It is an extraordinarily challenging time for us all.  Therefore, be kind to ourselves.  It may be helpful to also reach out to family members, friends and colleagues to share your feelings and concerns, while checking on how they are coping at the same time.  I was particularly excited to have electronically reacquainted with several colleagues who had retired many years ago and learnt that they were all safe and well.  Many local governments have also implemented a Nextdoor app to connect up neighbourhoods.  Through this, I learnt about an online concert next week by a musician two or three suburbs away and I am looking forward to his version of “Fly Me to the Moon”!


The NSW Branch Committee continues to work hard during the lockdown period.  Please click here to view the list of upcoming events by several Groups in NSW.  Among them, the Branch Committee has already started planning for our annual general meeting this year, which will be conducted online, on 20th October.  We are delighted that Associate Professor Danielle Skropeta from University of Wollongong has kindly agreed to be a speaker at our event.  Please click here to register for the online meeting.  Also, all positions in the Branch Committee (except the President and Past President) will be declared vacant.  Please e-mail ([email protected]) our Branch Coordinator, Brent, and let us know if you like to nominate a member or yourself for any of the positions in the Branch Committee (please visit


I am delighted to name Associate Professor Paul Prenzler from Charles Sturt University as our “Chemist of The Month” in the September Newsletter.  Notably, Paul is the first member from a regional area of NSW being featured in the Newsletter.  I came to know Paul when I was the Chair of the NSW Analytical and Environmental Chemistry Group.  After exchanging e-mails for some time, it was exciting to have met up with Paul face-to-face the first time during the Centenary Congress in Melbourne in 2017.  You will learn from Paul’s interview how he used his experience from various positions to contribute to his current research activities.  I have also noticed an increase in the number of new student members from Charles Sturt University in recent years.  Thanks to the efforts by Paul (a former Chair) and the current committee of the Northern Rivers Section!


In the “Meet the Group Chairs” section, Dr Stephen George-Williams (Chair, Chemical Education Group), Dr Rama Nimmagadda (Chair, Consultants and Contractors Group), and Dr Lachlan Yee (Chair, Northern Rivers Section) have all kindly agreed to contribute to the September Newsletter by reporting on some of the activities currently pursued by their corresponding Group / Section.  Many Groups and Sections do present a report during the monthly Branch Committee Meeting.  I’m sure it is enlightening for NSW members to also read a little about their major activities in the upcoming months.  Also, some members may remember acquainting with Stephen from a previous Newsletter (February 2021).  Thank you to Rama and Lachlan for granting us privileged access to several pages of their books of life.


It occurred to me in August that some might be interested to learn about how a typical workday is like for our members in their corresponding position.  Therefore, we are starting a new section in this September Newsletter called “A Day in the Life of …”, depending on the member(s) willing to contribute in a particular month.  I hope this will provide interesting and helpful tips to many students, in particular, to have a glimpse of their prospective job.  To kickstart this, I have managed to twist the arm of Nathan Camilleri, whom I have known for many years, to tell us a little about “A Day in the Life of an Analytical Chemist”.  In his account, Nathan explained how he cultivated his interest in Analytical Chemistry, leading to a PhD study in the same sub-discipline and his current position at SGS.  I’m sure his experience will appeal to many undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Thank you, Nathan, for your contribution to the September Newsletter!


I also like to remind all members that the National Office has extended the nomination closing date for the 2022 RACI Board to 6th September.  If a colleague or you yourself are keen to serve on the Board, please do not hesitate to make the corresponding nomination.  Please contact Brent at the Branch Office ([email protected]) if you need any further information.


To finish this report, all members please take good care of yourselves, adhere closely to all lockdown rules, stay safe and stay well!


Picture of NSW Branch Committee meeting. Email [email protected] if you want to join our next meeting. All are welcome!


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