Submitting an Abstract for the ACS National Meeting

Stressed out about submitting your abstract for presentation at an ACS National Meeting? Unsure of how the process works and don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Hopefully you're not as stressed as our spongy friend...

Hopefully you’re not as stressed as our spongy friend…

Any time you plan on presenting at an ACS National Meeting, the first thing you should do is talk to your advisor or principal investigator (PI) about your project. They should be the best resource for what information to include in your abstract, who to cite, etc. And unless you are Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory and your lab is completely self-sustained, you need to give your advisor or PI credit for helping you with your project by including them as an author.

Once you’ve finalized your abstract, you can submit by using ACS’s Meeting Abstract Programming System (MAPS). More technical information on how to submit is included on our website, so here we’ll just cover some common sessions for undergrads presenting their research. All the symposia listed below are under the Division of Chemical Education (CHED). Although you may submit to other technical divisions as well, we recommend discussing with the program chairs before selecting a session within another division.

Undergraduate Research Poster Session

This is a large poster session for undergraduates to present their research on any discipline. When selecting your symposium in MAPS, select the name of this section followed by the type of chemistry that best describes your area of research.

Undergraduate Research Papers

This is an oral session for students to give a longer (10-minute) presentation on their research. Before selecting this session, we recommend that you receive the endorsement of your PI. There are limited slots available to give an oral presentation, so if you aren’t selected to participate then your abstract will be moved to the Undergraduate Research Poster Session.

Successful Student Chapters

Want to showcase your student chapter’s awesome activities? If so, this is the session for you! The Successful Student Chapters poster session is part of the larger Sci-Mix session and gives you a chance to create a poster and talk about all the great things your chapter is doing.

The deadline for submitting an abstract to one of the sessions above is October 26, 2015. If you have any questions, please let us know at




National Chemical Landmarks: Dr. Rachel Lloyd, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


…is what the newspaper headlines should have announced the day after Dr. Rachel Lloyd (1839–1900) became the first woman from the United States to receive this degree. But, sadly, her name was not splashed across the front page news, and few across America even knew what a historical moment it was for the scientific community. Dr. Lloyd earned her Ph.D. in 1887 at the University of Zürich, Switzerland and would continue on to become the first female Director of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL). For many years, however, few people would know about Dr. Lloyd’s great accomplishments.

Rachel Lloyd Portait

Portrait of Rachel Holloway Lloyd (undated). Courtesy University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

During a time when women were discouraged from studying the sciences, Rachel Lloyd was the definition of a pioneer, jumping into uncharted territory as a female chemist pursuing higher education. After earning her degree, she came to Nebraska to teach and began her analytical research on accurate methods of testing the sugar content in sugar beets. Her research helped revolutionize the beet farming industry in Nebraska, and she continued to teach at the university for seven years.

Women would continue to fight against the social current over the next century to find their place in the sciences, and while Dr. Lloyd’s social and historical impacts on the scientific community were not fully celebrated during her lifetime, a few colleagues in 1916 knew just how important it was to preserve her legacy for future generations.

It was these very colleagues who left a token of the past in the form of a copper time capsule and a dated cornerstone on the university’s chemistry building. Dr. Mark Griep, an Associate Professor of Chemistry at UNL, learned about this time capsule when he was searching for a second photograph of Dr. Lloyd for his research, and he eventually gained permission to have the capsule opened in May of 2014. Enclosed were various newspapers and photographs from the years surrounding 1916 and of the chemistry department that existed at the time. Somewhat alarmingly, a variety of chemicals were also stored in the time capsule. However, beneath the oxidized and molded bottles of chemicals, a truly defining signature of the time was found: a biography about Dr. Lloyd’s life and legacy, recounting her impact on the scientific community and containing a photograph of her to commemorate her image at UNL. Staff at UNL   the biography, which is now available to everyone.

This discovery reignited the impactful spark of Dr. Lloyd’s legacy, and Dr. Griep was inspired to submit Lloyd’s work to be recognized as an American Chemical Society (ACS) National Historic Landmark.

Rachel Lloyd CelebrationWholeheartedly agreeing that Dr. Lloyd was worthy of such an award, ACS recognized her work as a National Historic Chemical Landmark on October 1, 2014 with a banquet and celebration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The event was led by Dr. Griep, and several other influential people—such as Harvey Perlman, the chancellor of UNL, and former ACS President Marinda Wu—were also in attendance to help the current chemistry department honor a true trailblazer. Amongst the countless research professors and graduate students present, I was one of few undergraduates in attendance, but we all shared the same proud smile. As someone who helped to break the mold of gender discrimination, Dr. Lloyd reminds younger generations about the many obstacles that had to be overcome in order for students to study freely regardless of their identity or background. Many of today’s undergraduate programs would not be in existence without the founding men and woman who pushed the boundaries to allow for equal opportunity in the scientific field. At the commemoration of Dr. Lloyd’s work, I believe that Dr. Mark Griep said it best: “We are all Dr. Rachel Lloyd!”.


Rachel Lloyd Celebration 2References

American Chemical Society. Rachel Lloyd, Pioneering Woman in Chemistry, to Be Named a National Historic Chemical Landmark [Press release]. Sept. 26, 2014. (accessed Oct. 7, 2014).

University of Nebraska–Lincoln. In Memoriam: Rachel Lloyd, Ph.D. (accessed Feb. 1, 2014).

University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Department of Chemistry. Rachel Lloyd ACS National Historic Landmark. (accessed Oct. 7, 2014).

Tales of a Student Leadership Award Winner

I’m Annabelle Lolinco, one of the 16 undergraduate ACS student members who were awarded an unforgettable all-expenses-paid trip to the 2015 ACS Leadership Institute in Dallas, TX. My student chapter already had a presence at national meetings and the like, but coming in as the President-Elect, I wanted to elevate CHEM Club to new heights. I was just starting to get my feet wet as the student representative for my local section, and I wanted to have an even bigger impact on my community. So I applied for the ACS Student Leadership Institute award, and miraculously I was chosen, which changed my life.

#ProudtobeaChemist—This is me, Annabelle Lolinco, current President of Fresno State CHEM Club. When I'm not doing all things chemistry related (tutoring, research, social events, etc.), I love volunteering my time to mentor other students by helping them discover their academic potential and gain the confidence to stand up for themselves. When I’m not running around or coming up with my next larger-than-life idea for the CHEM Club to try out, I enjoy experimental cooking with friends, video games, anime/manga, and getting my average daily intake of internet browsing.

#ProudtobeaChemist—This is me, Annabelle Lolinco, current President of Fresno State CHEM Club. When I’m not doing all things chemistry related (tutoring, research, social events, etc.), I love volunteering my time to mentor other students by helping them discover their academic potential and gain the confidence to stand up for themselves. When I’m not running around or coming up with my next larger-than-life idea for the CHEM Club to try out, I enjoy experimental cooking with friends, video games, anime/manga, and getting my average daily intake of internet browsing.

This life-altering experience actually began the minute I left for the meeting, since I met several local sections leaders from around the nation while on the airport shuttle. As an undergraduate, I often felt like I would never get the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these types of leaders. Happily, I was mistaken because not only did I chat with them, but I also was able to give them some ideas to take back to their sections, and vice versa!

After that exciting commute, the very first thing I did, outside of checking into the hotel and absorbing reality, was have a late night chat session with some of my amazing peers! [Shout out to Chris Colomier, Seton Hall University (NJ); Theresa Dierker, University of Detroit Mercy (MI); Marco Lopez, East Los Angeles College (CA); and Maria Philip, Birmingham–Southern College (AL).] All of us were connected via Facebook and the ACS Undergraduate Programs Office (UPO) team, and we immediately hit it off in person as much as we did online. Even though I may have been jetlagged from traveling, I was so pumped to meet fellow student leaders. We talked about school, life back home, and our self-proclaimed geeky interests. This interaction made me so stoked for the coming days.

The schedule was jam-packed. The first day we learned about each other and gave input on our ACS student membership benefits. We debated about various subjects, from content in inChemistry—the undergraduate ACS magazine—to utilization of the new Student Chapters Online system, to how the College to Career website can be better laid out for our use. It was a great collaborative discussion. What was also interesting was how well we meshed together, even though we came from so many different regions and our student chapters were all in different stages. Some of us were from 2-year colleges rather than 4-year colleges, and some had just begun to establish the foundation for their clubs, while others were continuing a long tradition of engaging active student chemists. Our interests were also varied, such as environmental chemistry, marine chemistry, chemical engineering, analytical chemistry, and organic chemistry, to name a few. I was so proud to be a part of this wonderfully diverse group of people!

Student leaders and Younger Chemists Committee leaders intermingling, which was also another cool thing about the Leadership Institute!

Student leaders and Younger Chemists Committee leaders intermingling, which was also another cool thing about the Leadership Institute!

We started bright and early the next morning with Leadership Development courses, which were fantastic. I got to network with local section members, division board members, and international colleagues (and more!) as I honed important leadership skills like engaging and motivating volunteers and collaborating across boundaries. I acquired great ideas and feedback from everyone, and I couldn’t wait to return home with a plethora of new tools to use. The group student leaders got to represent Undergraduate Programming by answering student chapter questions at the ACS Resources Fair and Reception. While we succeeded in communicating to others what student chapters are capable of, we also got to explore different sections of ACS. I had no idea how many different branches make up the entirety of ACS, such as international activities, Chemistry Ambassadors, and Program-in-a-Box events. It was eye-opening!

Finally, the time to say our goodbyes had arrived, although I don’t think any of us were ready to go. I personally did not want this irreplaceable and unforgettable experience to end. I made so many new connections, which included, most importantly, the bonds I fostered with my fellow student leaders after those intense couple of days. Wrapping up was bittersweet, but I was excited to return home and show off what I learned. And of course we couldn’t go without leaving our mark for the Leadership Institute by taking a group selfie!

Defining a new generation of chemists. #Selfie #ACSLI2015 student leaders rock!

Defining a new generation of chemists. #Selfie #ACSLI2015 student leaders rock!

Beyond those magical days, we all have managed to keep relatively in touch, both online and occasionally in person. Quite a few of us represented our student chapters at the spring 2015 National ACS Meeting in Denver, CO, including resident student leader Jack Henderson from University of Colorado Denver, who showed all the guests student leaders around his university in between all the different ACS events. And a handful of us proudly represented our chapters at the most recent ACS National Meeting in Boston, MA.

If there was one thing I would do with ACS again, it would be applying for the Student Leadership Institute award. It was a wondrous and fulfilling experience, and in the aftermath I made a new set of friends and connections that I would have never known otherwise. The application for this year’s award is due October 19, 2015. Apply today!

2015 Student Leaders gathered after the Sci-Mix at the National Meeting in Denver. From left to right: Monica Sanchez, Los Angeles Trade Technical College (CA); Jack Henderson, University of Colorado Denver (CO); Kelsey Richards, Tennessee Technological University (TN); Theresa Dierker, University of Detroit Mercy (MI); Annabelle Lolinco, California State University, Fresno (CA); and Chris Jackson, Saint Edward's University (TX).

2015 Student Leaders gathered after the Sci-Mix at the National Meeting in Denver. From left to right: Monica Sanchez, Los Angeles Trade Technical College (CA); Jack Henderson, University of Colorado Denver (CO); Kelsey Richards, Tennessee Technological University (TN); Theresa Dierker, University of Detroit Mercy (MI); Annabelle Lolinco, California State University, Fresno (CA); and Chris Jackson, Saint Edward’s University (TX).

It’s been fun, Boston!

Good morning, everyone!

This is Monica, one of the Undergraduate Student Liaisons for this National Meeting. You guys heard from Alex Saturday, but now it’s my turn to talk about my experiences at National Meeting.

This morning our hospitality center was filled with students eager to share breakfast with their peers. The hospitality center is always one of the best places to meet and chat with other students. I love to use this morning time to just relax and get ready for the day.

After a brief volunteer introduction, we all dispersed for our morning events. Some students went to the oral presentation sessions and some went to learn networking skills at ‘Networking Basics for Students’. I considered myself a great networker, but this session taught me so much about breaking the ice with potential professional connections and how to work on engage strangers.

The next event was the Eminent Scientist Luncheon and Lecture with John C. Warner President of Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. The theme was “What’s in your chemical toolbox?” During the Lecture, and the amazing lunch that was provided, Dr. Warner spoke of the importance of Green Chemistry and innovating ways of sustainable solutions for the society. He made it quite clear that although things look different at a first glance, they can be incredibly similar at microscopic levels. He was so funny and personable. Even the convention center staff stopped what they were doing to listen to him speak!

Immediately following Dr. Warner’s lecture, I walked to Hall C for the Undergraduate Research Poster session. The exhibit hall was full of amazing research posters being presented by our very own Undergrads. The outcome of this event was remarkable. Some of these undergrad research posters look like they might be giving some of the graduate research posters a little run for their money! Without a doubt, our Undergrads are a force to be reckoned with. Congrats to every single one of you and your outstanding posters!

If you haven’t ever been to ‘Speed Networking with Chemistry Professionals’ you’re missing out! This is my favorite event of any National Meeting. Not only do you get to speak with professionals working in the field of chemistry, but you get to have one-on-one, candid discussions about their work and learn from their experience. These professionals are always so friendly. Their advice has really benefited me in my professional planning.

The Sci-mix / Successful Student Chapters poster session couldn’t have been a better way to say goodbye to Boston! As a liaison, I’m a little detached from the program, but going thru this session I am able to speak with the students. It’s great to learn what other chapters are doing. It helps me be a better leader for my chapter.

As we come to the finale of this phenomenal meeting, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer many thanks for the AWESOME student volunteers. We wouldn’t be able to run things as smoothly as we do without you. Our programs work because of your dedication and effort.

Goodbye for now. I’ll see you in San Diego!

Welcome to Boston!

This is Alex, one of the ACS Student Liaisons, and I am here to provide you with a recap of the first day of the Undergraduate Programming in Boston. Let me say the day was packed and filled with so many valuable workshops and sessions!

The day started off with a great panel discussion about Careers in Chemical informatics. The panel discussion gave great insight into what students can expect going into this career field. We gathered a lot of good information while enjoying some awesome food!

The graduate school reality checks were my favorite sessions of the day. It was packed! As someone getting ready to apply to graduate school, I learned a lot and will be able to bring that information back home. My nerves about applying have been settled a bit.

Getting undergrads and graduate students together is sometimes hard, but the hardworking staff at Undergrad Programs really knocked the graduate school networking event out-of-the-park! Everyone I spoke to really took advantage of the opportunity to talk with graduate recruiters and get some really good advice. No to mention we all got some really cool freebies- you can never have to many pens!

As the day came to a close, we had a great time building bridges between ACS International and Domestic Student Chapters. It was, really cool to see that other students, some who flew to Boston from almost 10,000 miles away, can enjoy everything that an ACS Student Chapter has to offer. I know the connections that I made today will be ones that I keep for a long time to come!

This is my last meeting at a Student Liaison with Undergrad Programs. This is a bittersweet goodbye for me. I can’t wait for graduation, but I will miss the friends that I’ve made while working National Meetings with ACS.

Are You Ready for Boston??

BostonWe’re coming to the end of July and that means two things; summer is nearly over and the ACS Fall National Meeting is right around the corner. ACS Fall National Meetings tend to be smaller than spring national meetings. So, instead of 15,000-20,000 chemists in one convention center, you only have 12,000-15,000. Okay… so, it’s still big, but we’re here to help!

This meeting will feature some very special guests. For the first time EVER, ACS International Student Chapters will send representatives from their schools. As if this isn’t exciting enough, the meeting is being held in Boston, one of the oldest and most interesting cities in the country.

With so much to see and do between now and the end of the meeting, how do you even know where to start? Here are some tips for making the most of your national meeting experience.


By now, you should have made your travel plans. If you haven’t, go the national meeting website to register, find travel discounts, and locate a hotel room (the official ACS hotels are sold out, but information on alternatives is provided). But don’t bother renting a car. Boston traffic is legendary, and you can get around much easier by walking or using public transportation.

ProfessionaGet your suit cleaned and iron your khakis. ACS meetings are fun, but they are also professional conventions. You’ll need business attire for your presentation, business casual for the rest of the meeting, and whatever you feel like when you are done for the day. And leave the flip-flops at home. Invest in some good, comfortable leather shoes that look smart and can handle all the walking (on concrete) you are about to do.

Your presentation should be ready (still need tips?), so now is the time to practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more confident you will sound, no matter how nervous you are. And remember to bring along some business cards.

Contingency plans

Now you’re probably thinking, “all these preparations are good, but if I get to Boston and a zombie apocalypse breaks out? Or worse—my poster gets smooshed?” Emergencies are tough enough to handle at home, much less in a strange city.

But we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to handle most emergencies at national meetings:

  •  Can’t find my room: go to the lobby and look for a friendly person in the bright yellow, “Ask Me” T-shirt. They are there specifically to help you navigate the technical program, find your room, and answer general questions.
  • Can’t find my hotel: use the hotel and shuttle map. You can also download the meeting app for all conference information. Or stop by Undergraduate Hospitality Center in room 205A of the convention center for directions, information, and possibly a muffin.
  • Presentation got lost/splattered/hit by a car: always have a back-up of your presentation or poster on a flash drive. If something happens, find an “Ask Me” person, an ACS operations office, or a hotel concierge to direct you to the nearest FedEx or other printing facility.
  • Medical emergency or crime: if you are seriously injured or sick (or suddenly become a crime statistic), call 911 and alert the hotel staff… in that order.
  • Fire, earthquake, zombie apocalypse: if some sort of catastrophe happens at the meeting, ACS staff and security personnel will tell you what to do, while everyone else takes pictures. Put down your camera/phone and follow their instructions. You’ll be safer for it, and the Wi-Fi will be too overloaded for your tweets, anyway.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Get a tube or carrier for your poster, protect your computer, and remember you are in a city. Pay attention to your surroundings, travel with friends, and don’t flash anything expensive.

What to do?

Okay, you are all rehearsed, you’re looking sharp, and your arrangements are made. So what do you actually do in Boston?

Start with the Undergraduate Program Guide. It lists all of the national meeting programming that is set up specifically for students. There are chemistry talks, discussions with the international student chapters, grad school workshops, and opportunities to meet grad school recruiters and chemical professionals.

Want more technical talks? Search the technical program by topic, day, or your favorite chemist. Want to meet more people? Browse through the social events for the groups you are interested in. Entering the workforce… ever? Check out the career resources and register for the career fair. Need a break? Stop by the exposition for information, giveaways, and workshops from a variety of vendors.

And, if you need more of a break, check out the city. Boston is a fluid blend of historical landmarks and modern fun (unless you count the roads). For a brief respite, stop in Boston Common and watch—or ride—the swan boats. For a longer break, shop at Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market, visit the New England Aquarium, or tour Old Ironsides. If you have even more time, try following the Freedom Trail or taking a Duck Tour.

Also, have a donut. Dunkin’ Donuts was founded just south of Boston, so their shops proliferate the city. In fact, if you buy just one donut at each Dunkin’ Donuts you pass while in Boston… you’ll probably go broke on your first day.

See you there!

Boston, here we come!

With the 250th ACS National Meeting just around the corner, it’s time to properly prepare for presenting your research in Boston. Here are my six top tips for presenting at the National Meeting Poster Session:

  1. Know your research: Although you may have done all of the bench work, do you understand the mechanisms and background of your research? If not, now is the time to dig into the literature and to seek help from your advisor to understand the reasoning behind each of your laboratory steps and the larger picture of your project.
  2. Prepare your elevator speech:A 60 second summary of what you did, why you did it, and your results.
  3. Practice, practice, practice: You should practice your “elevator speech” to yourself, lab mates, friends, and family. It can be helpful to present to people without a chemistry background. For example, a group of middle school students were touring our new science building, and their teacher asked me about my research. To explain my work with protein affinity tags, I talked about eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. Whenever you eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, all you really want are the marshmallows; this is analogous to my research because we want to pick out specific proteins from a mixture. Bazinga! The kids understood my research! Practice your elevator speech to others, and you will be prepared for whoever walks up to your poster.
  4. Designing your poster: The key to a great poster is a single, cohesive story summarizing your research project by showing the key results that support your conclusion and demonstrate the originality of your work. (See the February 2012 issue of InChemistry magazine for more details).
  5. Dressing for success: Potential employers and graduate school recruiters come by the poster sessions, so you want to look professional and confident. For both men and women, I suggest going for solid colors for tops and black or blue for pants – a conservative and classic look.

For men: Black pants or slacks, a button-down shirt (long sleeve), and a tie is ideal. Also, nice brown or black shoes are important — ditch the sneakers for today.

For women: The best combinations are black pants or skirt with nice shirt (short sleeve or long sleeve) or a dress that is close to knee length with hose. It’s important to wear nothing that is too clingy. You want your work to be on display, not your figure. Also, low heels (no taller than 2 inches) or flats are best. You will be standing up and walking all day.

  1. Print business cards: Now that you have practiced and look you the part, you should be prepared to share your contact information. You can get 250 cards custom-printed at Staples for $6!

To make sure you’re ready to go, here’s an ACS National Meeting Poster Presenter checklist:

  • Notecards to practice your speech
  • Poster (seems obvious, but double check!)
  • Flash drive (with your poster on it)
  • Printed materials (your poster number, confirmation, etc.)
  • Hotel and flight itineraries
  • Nice outfit
  • Business cards and a portfolio with copies of your resume
  • Pen and a notebook (who knows when inspiration could strike!)
  • Camera
  • THUMBTACKS! This is the most forgotten item.

For more details, check out Dr. Brent Znosko’s webinar.