Liam Spencer

The Dow Chemical Company
Research Scientist
Summerland, Canada
Houston, United States of America
Early Transition Metal Complexes Supported by Amidophosphine and Amidocarbene Ligands

What are your main responsibilities or activities in your current position?

I am at the forefront of research and development with the Dow Chemical Company in the areas of electronic materials and performance plastics. A critical part of my role is to lead scientific research from both a people and technical perspective to ensure that milestones, goals, and deliverables are met for scientific projects that provide value to the company.

How does your current work relate to your graduate degree?

My graduate degree armed me with the necessary scientific skills to perform and complete demanding scientific experiments. This involves conducting scientific experiments with the highest scientific integrity to address technical problems.

What do you like and what do you find challenging about your current position?

New scientific challenges and opportunities present themselves everyday. My studies at UBC have provided me a critical tool in my scientific toolbox that I use daily to address and solve these challenges.

Is your current career path as you originally intended?

No. I had initially targeted an MBA after my PhD studies at UBC. During my studies, the opportunity for a postdoctoral assignment at Los Alamos National Laboratory was too good to pass up. While at Los Alamos, I had plans to become a professor at a university and had only applied to a couple industry positions to see what they offered. After interviewing with the Dow Chemical Company, it was a no-brainer to accept a position, as I like the constantly changing technical environment and the day-to-day challenges. I look forward to coming into work every day!

What motivated you to pursue graduate work at UBC?

I was born and raised in British Columbia and had spent time away for my MSc. It was a tremendous opportunity to come back to Vancouver and enter a nation-leading department to complete my education.

What did you enjoy the most about your time as a graduate student at UBC?

I loved the campus, the city, and the department. It provided me the opportunity to grow as a scientist and prepared me for postdoctoral studies in the US.

What key things did you do, or what attitudes or approaches did you have, that contributed to your success?

Have short term goals, but also be flexible to opportunities that may be presented to you. I am driven to succeed on challenges that are directly placed in front of me, as I know that success on these may open up new challenges and opportunities in the future.

What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their future careers?

Be open and flexible to opportunities that may be provided to you or that you may find yourself.

What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?

Graduate school takes time and a lot of patience. While graduate school is a lot of effort, it is preparing you to address even more difficult challenges in the future. Be patient and work through these challenges with the support system that you have around you.


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