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Bold Woman of the Month

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

Calla McCulley is a fourth year Chemistry graduate student and BWIC member. For BWIC, Calla serves as a fantastic mentor for students who want to pursue graduate school and for students who want to explore and do cool things like Goat Yoga, Painting with a Twist, Escape Rooms, and many more. She is also extremely involved in STEM outreach across all age levels -- she loves being the Outreach Chair for the Council of Graduate Chemists where she plans, organizes, and regularly volunteers for Thinkery, Fun with Chemistry, H2 from H2O, and UT Austin community events. In the lab, Calla’s research is focused on improving the performance of polymer-based thin film transistors for flexible electronics applications. Under the guidance of Prof. Ananth Dodabalapur, working in an Electrical Engineering group has allowed her to learn more about performance and characterization of semiconductor-based materials.

First row: Calla pictured in BWIC events. Second row: Calla pictured in various outreach activities. Third row: Calla presenting, displaying, and performing parts of her research.

Last semester, Calla worked with a team of undergraduate and graduate students to register a Chemistry Student Safety Organization for the UT Chemistry Department. This student-led organization aims to improve the lab safety culture at UT by promoting safe lab practices within each research group. As a part of this organization, Calla is an event coordinator responsible for hosting events where students can learn and practice safe lab habits, such as properly removing gloves to prevent chemical contamination on your skin. Recently, Calla was selected to attend and present at the ExxonMobil Partners of Academic Laboratory Safety (PALS) Workshop in Houston, TX this summer. She describes her experience in Houston below.

Calla with team members Adrian (left) and Audrey (middle left) pictured with one of the leaders for the ExxonMobil PALS program, Tim Alford (right) following the presentation.

This summer, during the PALS workshop, I was able to hear about lab safety environments at other universities, have brain-writing sessions on improving various safety aspects at UT, tour the ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, visit the Johnson Space Center, and network with all of the participants. This was an incredible experience for me and I hope my involvement helps pass down the safety torch to future generations of scientists while inspiring more young women to get involved!” -- Calla

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