Meet Dr. Bhavya Singhi, a research engineer at Zeus Industrial Products, Inc., and textiles expert. Bhavya is a member of the national Younger Chemists Committee (YCC), of which she serves on the Global Engagement (GE) subcommittee. Bhavya’s profile is part of “Meet the YCC”, a series of blog posts highlighting YCC members and associates and what they do both in and outside of ACS.
Bhavya Singhi (she/her/hers)
YCC subcommittee: Global Engagement (GE)
Other ACS Involvement:
Chair-Elect (2024), South Carolina Local Section; Professional Development Lead, Macromolecular Alliance for Community Resources and Outreach (MACRO) – Committee sponsored by Divisions of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) and Polymer Chemistry (POLY)
B.Tech., Fibers and Textile Processing Technology, Institute of Chemical Technology
M.S., Textile Chemistry, North Carolina State University
Ph.D., Fiber and Polymer Science, North Carolina State University
When and why did you join the YCC?
I joined YCC in 2022 as an associate and was made a voting member in 2023. After settling into my professional life as a research engineer, I was looking for ways to participate in the younger scientist community and to provide support to the next generation of students. Going through the https://www.acs.org/volunteer.html, I came across YCC and found it similar to graduate student organizations I experienced, but on a much larger scale. I decided to fill out the committee preference form to express interest in joining YCC. After two years of working with the folks of YCC, I’m glad I chose to join YCC as it has been a very engaging experience.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently a member of the Global Engagement (GE) subcommittee. As part of GE, I help with organizing symposia and other YCC events at ACS National Meetings. I’m also the lead for YCC’s International Presence initiative and coordinate communication between YCC and other international organizations for younger chemists, such as the European Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN) and the International Younger Chemists Network (IYCN). Having connections with international societies helps us have a broader outreach for younger scientists, especially as we become more globally diverse. I’m also working on some of the goals for YCC’s Strategic Plan, specifically to expand the participation of younger chemists at the ACS Leadership Institute through the Young Leaders Track. Through my connections in other ACS divisions, I have reached out to their leadership and encouraged them to have some of their younger/newer members to attend the YCC track at the Leadership Institute.
What is your favorite part about being on the YCC?
The YCC members have provided a wonderful community of peers with whom I can interact comfortably in a shared space. Participating in YCC meetings has encouraged me to be more engaged and assertive in my professional life. My membership with YCC has helped me with my participation within the broader ACS community and the younger chemist community internationally through IYCN. I also got involved with my local section and was recently elected to be the Chair-Elect for 2024 (Chair in 2025). Attending YCC and ACS meetings has also given me additional travel opportunities to visit some new places such as Indianapolis and San Francisco.
What is something you want every younger chemist to know?
Plan and prepare for transitions from one phase to another, be it starting graduate school, moving to a new city, or pursuing a new career. Planning ahead of time will help reduce the stress and make it easier to adjust to your new lifestyle. Don’t hesitate to ask for help — your colleagues or supervisor will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. There are lots of online resources as well, both within and outside ACS, such as webinars, live web panels, online forums, and Reddit posts that could be helpful. Also, once you’re settled into your career/professional life, please try to give back to the community because it’s people like you who help develop the next generation of leaders.
How has your career taken a unique or unexpected path?
During high school, I was always more interested in chemistry compared to my other STEM courses, and I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in a chemistry-related field. When applying to colleges, I learnt about the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) located in Mumbai, India. It’s a renowned university with specialized chemistry-based degree programs. When I joined the university, I was admitted to the Fibers and Textile Processing Technology B.Tech. degree program in the Textile Chemistry Department. At the time, I didn’t know much about the technical aspects of textiles. Like most people, I thought that textiles just referred to fabric and garments. Little did I know about the vast scope of the textile field and how it would provide me with so many opportunities.
By the time I was in my final year of college, I wanted to specialize in technical textiles, specifically the use of textiles for medical applications. When researching and applying to universities for a postgraduate degree, North Carolina State University (NCSU) was at the top of my list as it houses the Wilson College of Textiles, one the best places in the world for textile degree programs. I was admitted to NCSU and joined the BioMedical Textiles (BMT) Research Group. After my first year of pursuing my M.S., I had the opportunity to work as a summer intern at RTI International, located near the NCSU campus, and worked on a polymer research project in the advanced materials group. The two months spent during my internship amplified my interest in polymer materials, and after completing my M.S. degree, I enrolled in the PhD program in Fiber and Polymer Science at NCSU. My doctoral thesis was a continuation of my M.S. work done, and my thesis objective was to develop a new processing method for producing fibers incorporated with drugs using a new biodegradable polymer for medical applications. My initial research plan was based on a much bigger goal of large-scale fiber production. However, as this was a relatively new research area, my thesis committee encouraged me to narrow my research objectives and focus my research on a specific aspect. This led me to work on preparing small-scale fibers incorporated with use antibiotic drugs. This work was an example of drug incorporation into fibers more generally.
Throughout my academic courses and research, I was heavily involved in polymer materials and developed a deep interest in working as a materials scientist. I focused all my efforts into finishing my Ph.D. program and securing a suitable job in the industry. A few months before my Ph.D. dissertation defense, in 2019, I presented my doctoral research at the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Conference and came across a booth for Zeus Industrial Products, Inc., at the exhibition. After interacting with a couple of Zeus employees, I applied for a job as a research engineer and was hired shortly before the end of my doctoral program. Currently, my work as a research engineer at Zeus in South Carolina involves studying different polymers and developing new products for medical applications, such as catheters.
What are your favorite things to do for fun?
I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes from different cuisines. I recently tried to make authentic Pad Thai at home, and it turned out pretty good (even if I say so myself). I also love travelling and usually combine my conference or work visits with a vacation to visit local attractions. I often go hiking at State and National Parks or try an adventure activity while on a trip.
Biographical photo by Balaji Ramasubramanian.