Students and postdocs get to know new faculty in meet-and-greet lunch series

Sitting in a circle with Asst. Prof. Allison Squires, students and postdocs in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) asked the faculty member everything from specifics about her research to what she thinks is the most influential fiction book.

The event was the first in a series of meet-and-greet lunches, where students and postdocs were invited to learn about new faculty, their backgrounds, their research, and their interests beyond engineering. Lunches are planned for most of the new assistant professors who joined Pritzker Molecular Engineering during the 2019-2020 academic year, bringing the total number of PME faculty to 40.

The lunch meet-and-greets are part of PME’s efforts to facilitate engagement and collaboration among students, postdocs and faculty.

“I think events like this are great opportunities to really learn about the new professors in the PME community,” said PhD student Taylor Gray. “I was particularly interested in meeting Professor Squires because I like learning about how other women in engineering have successfully navigated the academic environment.”

Squires, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Molecular Engineering, researches manipulating, measuring, and understanding the properties and behavior of single molecules. At the event, she mentioned that what drew her to PME was its focus on new types of engineering and it being an interdisciplinary school.

Squires also offered advice on transitioning from a student to a postdoctoral researcher, on switching disciplines, and on good communication between mentors and mentees. At one point, she started asking everyone else questions—what the students were interested in and what they were most excited about in the next 25 years in science—and expressed that she’d like these conversations to continue after the lunch was over.

“If my door is open, you’re welcome to come in and introduce yourself,” Squires said. “I’d really like to get to know all the students and postdocs in the department.”

As for Squires’ pick of the most influential fiction book, she chose Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The next meet-and-greet lunch is scheduled for January 30 with Asst. Prof. Mark Mimee.