Day One of the Undergraduate Program at the ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis

Welcome to Sunday’s Undergraduate Program of the 246th ACS National Meeting Indianapolis 2013! We have scores of neat workshops, lectures, and networking opportunities available for you! Below, I have highlighted some of the events that I am personally looking forward to!

 

Graduate School Reality Check, Step I: Getting In
Sunday, September 8, 9:45–10:45 a.m.
Indianapolis Downtown Marriott
Ballrooms 9/10

Is graduate school right for you? What are some of the research opportunities available? Should I attend graduate school? If you are asking yourself and your advisor these questions, then come, listen, and get answers from a panel of graduate students and faculty as they talk about graduate school and other opportunities after graduation!

Getting Ready for the New Student Chapter Report Tool
Sunday, September 8, 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Indianapolis Downtown Marriott
Ballrooms 1–5

If you were or are a student chapter officer, you know how hectic the process of submitting a chapter report can be at the end of the year. This workshop will give you some hints and tools to make the process more efficient by keeping track of activities throughout the year with the new student chapter report tool.

Careers in Chemistry: Pharmaceutical R&D
Sunday, September 8, 3:30–5:00 p.m.
Indianapolis Downtown Marriott
Ballrooms 9/10

It is never too late to start making a list of different options available after graduation. Come and learn about different career opportunities in research and development from representatives from Eli Lilly and Company. Even if you are not thinking about going into pharmaceutical industry, it is worth opening up a new option and getting a sense of what careers are available to you as a chemist!

Chemistry and the Environment Film Series, Supercar: Building the Car of the Future
Sunday, September 8, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
Indianapolis Downtown Marriott
Ballrooms 9/10

green.autoblog.com/2012/10/27/bmw-i4-coming-to-la/

From: green.autoblog.com/2012/10/27/bmw-i4-coming-to-la/

The relationship between technology and the environment is a hot topic in the science world today. Come watch this documentary and hear what Daniel Zuckerbrot learned from different scientists who dedicated their lives to making the “car of the future.”

There are more activities throughout the day in the conference center, so come out and explore, connect, and enjoy!

HanByul Chang
American Chemical Society, Student Liaison

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The Undergraduate Program at the 246th ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis!

Hello ACS Student Members!

Quick, what do the author of Slaughterhouse Five’s library, the largest children’s museum in the world, and the chemistry of race cars have in common?  They’re all in Indianapolis, along with the ACS National Meeting! Need more information, check out our Undergraduate Program Guide!

ACS indy banner

There’s a lot of great information about the Meeting online! And of course, check out the Undergraduate Program Guide for information about the sessions, but here are a few special announcements just for student chapters:

  1. Sign up to volunteer! Volunteers get a gift bag and a few other great gifts. We are especially in need of volunteers for the poster session!
  2. Want ACS to pay for your gas to the Meeting? Sign up today!
  3. Network at the 246th ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis and Receive Free Business Cards! The Undergraduate Speed Networking with Chemistry Professionals event, will taking place on Monday, September 9, 2013, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. in the Indiana Convention Center Hall I. This is an amazing opportunity to meet and talk with chemistry professionals with a wide diversity of backgrounds. Attendance at this event will be limited. If you RSVP by August 23, 2013 (today!!!) we will provide you with a FREE personalized set of business cards to use at the event!
  4. Want to win a free trip to Six Flags? Visit the International Center’s Website for details.
  5. In order to help you be the best faculty advisor you can be, we’ll be hosting a session entitled “Get Acquainted: How to Be a Great Faculty Advisor”, Sunday, September 8, from 9:4510:45 a.m. in the Atlanta Room of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.  Come share your experiences and enjoy some coffee on us!
  6. On Sunday, September 8th from 7:30-9:00 p.m., SOCED is proud to co-sponsor a screening of Supercar: Building the Car of the Future with CEI. This documentary covers the development of new cars, including materials, fuels, software, and design. Discussion with experts to follow. Ask your students to join us and learn about the car they may drive one day!

If you have any questions, email us and let us know. We look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis!

For up to the minute National Meeting information:

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Why I Don’t Plan to Go to Graduate School

As an undergraduate student, the first question I’m usually asked is, “What is your major?” When I say that my major is chemistry, the question that almost invariably follows is, “So are you planning on going to medical school or graduate school?” Graduate school, for many, is the appropriate next step after undergrad. There are real benefits for those who attend, such as potentially higher salaries and a lower unemployment rate (6.2% vs. 3.6%, according to 2012 ACS statistics); however, after extensive research, I’ve come to the conclusion that graduate school is not for everyone. For someone like me, who is interested in a non-traditional chemistry career, the potential educational and employment benefits do not outweigh the opportunity cost.

It may seem surprising to many undergraduate chemists, but there are A LOT of things you can do with a chemistry degree other than work in a lab. For example, you could become a dietitian, science writer, patent agent, public health inspector, or a teacher, just to name a few. Many of these positions require or prefer people with an education in science. Although some of these occupations favor those with an advanced degree, many of these non-traditional chemistry jobs do not require it. Not pursuing a graduate degree right now allows me to remain flexible in choosing my future career.

While the jobs market a big factor in why I’m not headed to graduate school, I am also concerned about the high opportunity cost of continuing my education. Since a Ph.D. in chemistry takes, on average, 5.1 years to complete, going to graduate school would delay major life milestones that I am looking forward to achieving—like buying a house, starting a family, and getting out into the business world. And that does not include postdoctoral studies, which can take up to an additional 5 years to complete.

For instance, it would be very difficult to save for major purchases, like a house or a car, on a graduate school stipend. It’s pretty much common knowledge that you don’t get paid much while going to grad school. As famously quipped by Jorge Cham, “a job at McDonalds pays only $15 less a year than the average graduate student stipend.” While that isn’t entirely accurate, the truth is that the average chemistry graduate student receives a TA stipend of about $18,000–$19,000 per year. Although as undergraduates we’re told that overall earning potential of those with graduate degrees tend to be higher, I don’t want to live in scholarly poverty for the next several years; I can only eat ramen noodles for so long.

In addition, grad school would most likely postpone my ability to start a family. As a modern woman, I wholeheartedly believe that you can be anything ranging from career woman to a stay-at-home mom, but working the midnight shift in a lab and writing papers would definitely take a toll on my ability to contribute to raising children. For this reason, many people choose to wait until after degrees are conferred to start having kids. Unfortunately, though, the narrow window of time that I would be able to start a family after grad school is just a little too narrow for my taste.

Finally, I can’t wait to get out into the working world! I want to be able to gain experience now, build up my résumé, and finally become a “real” adult. Personally, I realized that I loved working in an office through my internship last summer at the American Chemical Society. I discovered the type of job that suits me, and I want to start working and gaining experience in places that will help to advance my career as soon as possible.

Graduate school is a considerable investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly—and it shouldn’t be the default choice of chemistry majors. My internship last year helped me to realize that there were a multitude of non-traditional chemistry jobs out there. I wish someone had told me earlier that I had more options as a chemistry major than getting a graduate or professional degree. I would have spent more time as an undergraduate gaining experience instead of stressing out over a grad school-worthy GPA. I would have had more time to gain contacts, explore the options, and prepare for entering the working world next year.

jessica picture

Jessica Roberts is a rising fourth year at the University of Virginia studying biochemistry. While not learning about protein functions, she is heavily involved in Housing and Residence Life where she serves as a Senior Resident in a first year residence hall.

If you have any questions or comments, please comment below. And if you are interested in gaining working experience and discovering your passions, check out the ACS’s Get Experience website for internship opportunities.

So how about a Ph.D.? Part 4 – How to Work Smart and Grad School Visits

Ian Pendleton is a Ph-D. student at the University of Michigan. He is a four-year ACS member and a recipient of the Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. He is currently researching organic chemistry with a focus in methods development. When not working in the lab, he enjoys rock climbing and scuba diving. (Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University)

Welcome back to our series on applying to graduate school. If you haven’t done so already, check out our first three entries in the series (parts one, two, and three). In those articles we covered general strategies for the application process; in this one we explore two remaining strategies that are easy to overlook: managing your stress and maximizing your visits to possible grad schools.

1. Minimize stress, maximize productivity

The semester in which you apply to graduate school is typically more hectic than most and, with many looming deadlines and upcoming visits, it is easy to lose sight of how to relax. In fact, by this point in the semester, with your time and energy spread between researching graduate schools, studying for midterms, and completing your senior research, you’re almost certainly stressed. If so, I really hope you’re ready to de-stress! Not distress (which is the opposite), but de-stress.

About this time last year (it’s mid-November as I write this), I was on the verge of sleep deprivation and still fighting to meet deadlines for my graduate applications. I was taking classes, attempting to wrap up research, and writing my senior thesis. It was easily the most busy and stressful time of my entire life. However, it provided me with a foundational understanding of stress management. These experiences, in combination with advice from mentors and blogs such as LifeHacker, have taught me several effective ways to deal with stress.

First and foremost, do not work constantly. One easy mistake anyone can make is to equate productivity with work hours. I see it here in graduate school, and it is a frightening trend. But a lack of productivity is not the only problem: spending 10+ hours a day doing a single task without rest is dangerous to your health. The easy solution is to take breaks before you start to wander from the task at hand. One of the best ways to do so is to make a break schedule. For instance, in writing this blog, I work for an hour, take a 10-minute walk, return to my desk, and start again. Force yourself to get up and walk around occasionally; I think you’ll find yourself thinking more clearly and getting more work done.

Taking periodic breaks shortens the time you spend actively working, and at first you may feel you are accomplishing less. Yet as chemists, we know productivity is dependent on time and rate — so, by improving our efficiency, we can be more productive. So the real question is: How do we increase our “rate”? I have mentioned one way already. By taking breaks, the time spent working will be more effective because you will naturally be more on task.

A second solution may be slightly less appealing, but really does work: get rid of Facebook (and other distractions). All of them. At the very least, force yourself to login to Facebook manually.

Another common distraction is one’s phone. My solution: I turn my phone off for the hour I’m working; during my walk, I turn it back on and text my friends and check e-mail. This way, I am not breaking my concentration to respond to that enticing ring tone.

I chose to delete my Facebook account six months ago, and got rid of my smart phone last week. I would recommend both as solutions to those who are truly serious about increasing productivity. Also, avoid stumbling through the Internet. If you have to write, turn off the wifi, and make it difficult to go back online.

While you’re at it, stop multitasking. Here’s the thing about multitasking: even if you think you’re good at it, you’re not. Researchers at Stanford University have found that the more we multitask, the worse we are at it. Multitasking isn’t a sign of productivity, it’s an addiction. According to an article about the researchers’ findings, “High multitaskers just love more and more information. Their greatest thrill is to get more.” So, do one thing at a time, and get rid of excess distractions.

Stick to a check list. If you are working on a project and have an idea for one that is due later, jot down that good idea on a list to review later, and stay on task. From this suggestion arises my newish mantra (which applies to everything from chemistry to rock climbing), “work smart, not hard.” If you still don’t believe it is possible to work fewer total hours and get more done, I challenge you to try maintaining a list of ideas for later review as described above — even if only for a couple days. Let me know how it works out for you!

The last few tricks to being efficient take longer, but are also more rewarding. If you are more productive, then your extra time can be spent on health. This means the usual triumvirate of self-maintenance: eat well, sleep, and exercise. I want to emphasize SLEEP. If you are trying to get through an unending list of tasks, the worst solution is to sacrifice sleep; you can’t think if you’re sleep-deprived. Even worse, sleep deprivation is linked to obesity and memory loss.

Oh, and people who exercise regularly earn, on average, 9% more than those who don’t. Thought you’d enjoy that statistic.

Remember to relax and play. Enjoy a book, play a game, watch a movie, do something that gives you a rest. Nothing is so important that you should sacrifice your health and well being to attain it.

2. Make the most of your graduate school visits

After the stressful semester in which you apply to graduate school, it’s time to solicit and gather your acceptance letters. But, while it’s extremely satisfying to have all your acceptance letters in hand, this is not yet the end of the process. You still need to visit and see the institution where you plan to spend the next 5 to 10 years of your life.

Graduate school visits are an important part of your application. They’re your chance to learn about — and also impress — the groups you could be joining. These trips should be treated as job interviews. The professors and students you meet could be your mentors and co-workers in a year, and you want them to remember you as the best student visitor. In short, you want to make an outstanding first impression.

First, read and understand the research of professors you are interested in. While you are not expected to understand all of the research at the university, becoming at least familiar with it demonstrates both interest and drive.

Second, don’t overdo the alcohol (getting drunk, becoming incoherent, or worse) when you go out during your visit. This may sound obvious, but it happens. One of my co-workers, Jane Higglepants, told me an interesting story of an individual she witnessed make this grievous mistake at the University of Somewhere (names changed to protect the innocent). As is typical on most graduate school visits, the potential graduate students were taken out to a bar one evening, offered drinks, and given time to casually speak with professors and current grad students. Jane was seated at a table with professors and graduate students when a clearly intoxicated ‘potential’ joined them and started making rude comments, the least offensive being, “You’re so small I could throw you!”

Jane, trying to be professional, prompted a conversation about how harassment would be handled at the university. Suffice it to say, the department demonstrated its position very clearly the next day: Jane heard through the grapevine that Mr. Potential’s offer was rescinded because of the incident. The lesson? Just because you’re accepted doesn’t mean you’re invincible — so even a little alcohol-fueled bad behavior could negate all the hard work you did to earn your place as a candidate.

Hopefully this article has given you a bit of insight into the next stage of your application process and how to best handle stress. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a message. I have had a great time writing for the ACS undergrad Reactions blog and hope that you will stay up to date with our current articles for years to come. Hope to see you in graduate school!

Lab Tales: How A Chemistry Lab Experiment/Explosion Changed My Life

This month’s inChemistry magazine (to be posted soon, check your mailboxes!) contains an editorial encouraging you to read a publication of the ACS Safety Board entitled Creating Safety Cultures in Academic Institutions. To bring attention to this issue, we’re reposting a story of a lab accident from the Chemistry Grad Student and Postdoc BlogLet us know your thoughts.

WHY I AM INTERESTED IN SAFETY

Whenever I hear about lab accidents it makes me feel a little nauseous. This is because I have several inches of permanent scar tissue on my arm and a smaller scar on my face to remind me how chemical burns can have a lasting impact. I don’t think about it most of the time until someone I am talking to or waiting in the elevator with fixates on my arm and then turns away like they weren’t looking.

LONG STORY SHORT

 It happened one night some years ago when I was a third year grad student. I needed to do a deprotination to make an alpha hydroperoxy. I had flushed out the system using Argon. I had carefully set up the drop-wise addition of a pyrophoric compound via cannulation. All at once, a bright flash, loud sound and extreme pressure and heat invaded my senses. I remember being stunned and gazing into the glass hood where I could see the hair near my forehead was on fire. I ran to the shower—like I had seen in too many lab class introduction videos as a T.A.—stripped off my lab coat and shirt, and pulled on the shower knob. I saw some of the skin was peeling off my left arm. A postdoc in the next door lab gave me his jacket, helped me over to his car and proceeded to drive me to the hospital emergency room. Another postdoc helped clean up the water on the floor (thank you kind postdocs!). The drive to the emergency room only took minutes but felt like an eternity. I kept asking the postdoc driving the car if my face was ‘real bad.’ I knew my arm was scarred but I was more worried I had permanently scarred my face. At the hospital I was treated for second and third degree burns to my arm and my graduate adviser arrived. Luckily there were mostly only first degree burns on my face but I did look like I had a severe case of acne for a while. (Nothing is quite the same kind of awkward as sitting with your very distinguished adviser in the middle of the night with burns over your arm and face while dressed in a hospital gown in the emergency room.)

WHY ANY OF THIS MATTERS

You might wonder if and how I was irresponsible that night of the accident, what I could have done to prevent it, or what I could have done differently. All I know for certain is that my view on the importance of safety training in academia has changed greatly since then. After the accident, I no longer see any part of lab safety training as just a theoretical discussion or mandatory obligation.

When in the lab, there is so much at stake. We have not only our immediate safety to think about (avoiding fires, spills, etc.), but also potential repercussions to our future-permanent scars, cancers, reproductive systems, etc. It is so important to take advantage of the safety resources we have.

Side note: Other than my dissertation, my most prized possession that I took from the lab is an old pair of safety goggles I wore that night. It has a big white splotch where there was back-splash from the explosion just over the lens that was protecting my right eye.

 

Do you have a “near miss” story you want to share?  Leave it below.

So, how about a Ph-D Part 3: Essays and test prep

Ian Pendleton is a Ph-D. student at the University of Michigan. He is a four year ACS member and a recipient of the Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. He is currently researching organic chemistry with a focus in methods development. When not working in the lab, he enjoys rock climbing and scuba diving. (Photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan University)

Welcome back!  If you haven’t already, check out part 1 and part 2 of Ian’s advice for those applying to graduate school!  In this installment, Ian covers the personal statement, the research summary, and the GRE.

Essay writing: How to write an interesting and effective personal statement

Essay writing is a big part of the application process, and for good reason.  Your personal statement demonstrates how you write, who you are, and why you should be granted admission to the committee that will ultimately decide to admit you to the school of your choice…or not. This means you need to pay attention to what they ask you to write; an essay which doesn’t even follow the basic directions of the prompt won’t impress a committee trying to fill a limited number of spaces.

If you read through a general Google search of “personal statement” you will see a plethora of various concepts, forms, and approaches.  The American Chemical Society (ACS) has a helpful guide to writing a personal statement in its Graduate School Reality Check (see page 4).  The best additional advice I can give you is to write with the specific school in mind.  Take time to figure out what a school is looking for by reading mission statements and department goals, but also make sure you stay true to yourself. The admissions committee looks for unique individuals, not simply chemistry geniuses.

To start, look at the prompt of the essay. Even if you are recycling from another application, look at the prompt.  You cannot know what you are being asked to include if you do not read the prompt.  Then, write an outline for your introduction.  When writing an introduction you should think about a “funnel” format.  You want to drop your readers into the essay, and allow them to flow from the very first sentence into the body of your essay.  This means start with a broad reference that is relevant to your essay, but not an obvious cliché that will insult your audience (e.g. I have a lot of lab experience and one of the most important parts of a chemist’s job is working in the lab.).  An introduction that acknowledges the benefits of diversity in higher education, the personal advantages of pursuing a degree in chemistry, or even the personal satisfaction of doing chemistry lab are all reasonable opening sentences.  And if you can’t come up with a clever introduction, don’t sweat it, just write the rest of your essay and come back to your opening.

The most important transition is between the opening paragraph and the body of the essay. The final sentence in the introduction should summarize the entire essay, but it should also be the most specific sentence in the introduction.  It is called the thesis sentence, and it should summarize the entire argument of your personal statement. Because it is so important, many resources are available to help refine its structure and form.

Following the thesis sentence is the main body of the essay. Depending on the prompt, this can be vastly different from essay to essay.  Some things to keep in mind while you write the body of the essay:

  1. Stay with the prompt.
  2. You are writing an argument.  Your goal is to convince and persuade the admissions committee to accept you.  Give them every reason to say yes!
  3. If you are discussing research, don’t use discipline-specific jargon (stereoselectivity, methodology, diastereomers, chromatography, boson, etc.).
  4. Focus on personal experiences, but don’t forget you are attempting to explain why you want to join their specific Ph. D. program!
  5. Write about specific research you are interested in at the university. For example, if I were starting to write my essay for Princeton, I would visit the Princeton Graduate admission homepage, follow the link to the chemistry department, find faculty, and then search through until I found someone interesting, say, David MacMillan.  From there, I would visit his group page, find his publications, and read a couple!  If I didn’t find his work interesting, then I would cross him off and move on.  If I liked the research, then I would write about my favorite project that he or she has published. Also look at DGRweb, an excellent chemistry faculty list through the ACS. (Do not follow this if it deviates from the prompt!)
  6. Remember that graduate school is all about the research!  If you show that you are interested in something that the professor is investigating, he or she will want you as a student!  Make the connections!
  7. You are writing about the journey that has led you to graduate school.  You want to address why you want to be a part of a Ph. D. program and what their program has for you specifically.  Give examples.

You should address your career goals in your personal statement.  Even though a career may be a ways off, showing that you have a goal depicts you as focused and as a long-term thinker.  Also, remember that the people you are writing to are professors by choice.  So, if you have an interest in teaching, make sure to say it!

Lastly you have to conclude and make it sound serious.  You want to be in that program.  Summarize and be clear: “I will”, “I intend”, “I am ready to contribute to chemistry at your university”.  Make sure that there is no doubt you want to join their program.  This is implied in almost every prompt, so make sure to include it!

Oh, and once you’re done, proofread it, and if possible, get someone else to proofread it, too.  Remember, you may not worry about grammar, but a reviewer will.  The essay you send in should not be a first draft.  Review, review, review!

The ACS has an excellent library of resources for essay writing and graduate application help.  The Purdue Online Writing Lab provides an excellent list of general advice, some of which I have already touched on.  If you are unsure about the angle you wish to take on graduate school, check out the ACS handbook on Planning for Graduate Work in Chemistry.  This may give you an idea of important points to include outside of research.

Research summary, statement of purpose, and other essays

You may be required to write other types of essays. I will describe a couple below. Remember: Essays are your chance to shine. Your personal statement is your appeal to the school, whereas your essay is your opportunity to explain exactly what you have done to earn a place at their institution.

In a research summary, focus mainly on why you started research. Discuss three main points of your work, and explain where that research has taken you. Don’t go into gory detail about every reaction, experiment and trial from your undergraduate research.  Make three key points and don’t bury them with irrelevant data. Feel free to include diagrams and key tables of data in order to enhance your work.  And in direct contrast to the personal statement, use technical terms, because experts in your field will hopefully be reading your application.

A successful research summary will highlight your accomplishments as a scientist, but not bore the audience with irrelevant data. An irreplaceable tool for accomplishing this is the ACS Style Guide.  This book contains the do’s and don’ts of effective scientific communication including common errors, proper syntax, and citation management.  I highly recommend this guide. It will be useful far beyond graduate school applications!

Another type of essay is the statement of purpose.  Approach these essays as a research summary and personal statement combined.  Sometimes the prompt will be extraordinarily different than the essay name; always follow the prompt!  In my case, the University of Michigan’s prompt asked for an explanation of how past research and personal experience influenced my decision to attend graduate school.  Thus, my essay addressed both my research (jargon included; they asked for it by wanting research information) and my personal history.  I also knew that scholarships were available to first generation college students, so I included that in my personal history blurb.

The best advice I have heard is threefold: Follow the prompt, write to your audience (follow the style guide!), and tell a true story.  I hope these tips will help you assemble a good set of essays, but the writing process still takes time.  Make sure you start early and give yourself time for edits and final proof reading so you can submit quality work on time. Keep a checklist. And remember: these essays should not be a first drafts.  Review, review, review!

4. GRE battle: test preparation

I’m going to keep this section short, because like most chemistry students, you have already taken a few standardized tests by this point in their education and you know how to go about studying.  So, the most useful advice I can provide: Study frequently.  Part of test taking is training your brain to think in the ways the test wants.  You can find various guides at Amazon.com, Half.com, or your local bookstore.  While studying every one of them is probably not necessary, spending time with any GRE prep book on a daily basis is an excellent investment of your time.

To prepare for the chemistry subject test, I used “Cracking the GRE, Chemistry Subject Test.”  This one is still a little weak in my opinion, although it does provide a good starting point.  There’s also The Best Test Preparation for the GRE Chemistry.  Again, just put time into studying, and all will be fine.  Take your first test early, so if you need to take another, you’ll have plenty of time.  Testing has already begun, so register soon!

Remember: Don’t panic, and always carry a towel.  Seriously, relax.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to burn yourself out.  As always, good luck, and if you have questions, leave a comment!

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244th National Meeting- Monday Programming

Is it the final day of Undergraduate Programming for the National Meeting already?  My how time flies.  But don’t worry, there’s plenty to do today.  Have a look at the Undergraduate Program and the Undergraduate Program Guide, but in the meantime, here are a few events which we think will advance your careers and interests.  Enjoy, and let us know if you have any questions! (All events are at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel, unless otherwise noted)

Graduate School Recruiting Breakfast
Liberty Ballroom C/D, 8 – 9:30 am

Have you started your search for graduate schools?  If you haven’t started your search, you’re a little behind!  But that’s ok, this event allows you to speak to recruiters from over 30 top programs in order to determine if one is the right fit for you.  Here’s a few tips before you go:

  1. Don’t try to impress the recruiter with your GPA or GRE score, your research, or your extracurricular activities.  When it comes time for those things, they will ask you.
  2. Instead, have some questions about the school.  Here are some really good questions.  You are there to find things out, not to sell your talents.

  3. Finally, at the end of your conversation, hand the recruiter your business card, and ask for one of theirs.  (Don’t have a business card?  Write your name and e-mail address legibly on a few index cards or stiff pieces of paper.  It won’t look great, but it will do for now.)  Follow up with a thank you note about two weeks after the meeting.

Undergraduate Speed Networking with Chemistry Professionals
Freedom Ballroom F, 9:45 – 11:15 am

We mentioned this event in a previous post, but let us reiterate: networking is a skill that will serve you well.  Simply knowing more people, especially those involved in chemistry, gives you people you can ask about career prospects, new technology, business opportunities, predictions on the future of the industry, and much, much more. A well connected individual benefits whatever organization of which they are a part, and this makes them valuable.  So come out and meet some fellow chemists: share a story, ask about available careers, and find out what they wish they had known when they were in your position.  Read over our list of networking tips and then come practice your skills!

Beyond the Bench: Non-Traditional Careers in Chemistry
Philadelphia Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, Salon III/IV, 10:30 – 11:55 am; 1:30 – 4 pm

Speakers discuss their non-traditional career choices related to chemistry in such as those in law, education, or marketing. Morning and afternoon
sessions focus on different careers.
Co-sponsored by the ACS Younger Chemists Committee and the ACS Division of Professional Relations

Eminent Scientist Luncheon and Lecture

Dr. Katharine Holloway
From: http://www.phikappaphi.org/greatminds/

Philadelphia Convention Center, 108 A/B 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Dr. M. Katharine Holloway, Senior Investigator at Merck & Co., will discuss her career and her groundbreaking research “Arresting AIDS & Halting Hepatitis C: Structure-Based Design of Protease Inhibitors”.  This is a valuable opportunity to meet and hear from one of the major pioneers in the battle against AIDS and HIV. Lunch will be served (Cheesesteaks!).

 

Undergraduate Research Poster Session
Philadelphia Convention Center, Hall D,
2- 4 pm

Your fellow undergraduates are engaged in a wide array of studies across all fields of chemistry.  And they’d love to talk to you about it.  Drop by the Convention Center and see posters across all fields of chemistry.

Social Media Meet Up
Pennsylvania Convention Center, Broad Street Entrance Lounge
, 6:30-8 pm

As you’ve probably figured out by now, social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook are here to stay.  Businesses, schools, and government institutions are all using social media, and you should too!  People with social media experience are sought after commodities, and its a skill many employers are consider valuable.  Come meet the people behind the media at the Social Media Meet up.  Walk-ins welcome, but RSVP now!

Oh yes, and there will be food!

Don’t say we never gave you nothing
From: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Pizza

There’s lots more, so come out and enjoy the final day of Undergraduate Programming here in Philadelphia!