a Leader by
Learn to Become
BY LYNNE FRIEDMANN
THE FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS IN UNDER- graduate studies — and eventually in your chemistry career — requires both a high GPA and the intangible quality known as leadership.
“Leadership is the ‘hidden curriculum’ of your college expe-
rience,” says Matthew J. Mio, associate professor of chemistry
and biochemistry at the University of Detroit Mercy. “Beyond
grades, you need to learn how to successfully interact with
How do you go about devel-
oping the leadership skills
needed to reach your academic
and career goals? You do this by
pursuing your passions. When
it comes to science, an obvi-
ous place to start is the Student
Affiliates of the American
Chemical Society. But don’t
overlook the arts, sports, politi-
cal advocacy, and even hobbies
as additional avenues through
which to become involved and
develop leadership skills.
Professor Matt Mio advises stu-
dents to take ownership of their
degrees by becoming all-around
students with solid academic cre-
dentials, learning to network, and
keeping up with what’s going on in
the chemistry field.
AR THUR HAMAN, UNIVERSI TY OF DE TROIT MERCY
For example, Matt Mio has
a passion for Halloween, and
so he took the initiative, when
just starting his career, to found the Motor City Haunt Club
Gain skills while making a difference
— a group that “lives, breathes, and dreams about everything
Halloween.” Starting with four members (Mio, his father, and
two friends) the club now has recruited over 100 like-minded
Chen Zhao, president of the Student Affiliates chapter at the
University of California San Diego (UCSD), entered college as a
pre-med student. By his second year, his interests turned to chem-
istry and led him to Student Affiliates. Over time, Zhao’s involve-
ment progressed from meeting planning to community outreach.
Taking on a leadership role, however, was new territory.
Zhao counts among his accomplishments getting UCSD chap-
ter members to volunteer with the Sally Ride Science Festival.
Spearheaded by the first American woman astronaut in space,
this event brings together hundreds of students for a day of sci-
ence and socializing to encourage young girls to pursue math
and science with an eye on future careers. “We pursued this,”
says Zhao, “and it’s now one of our signature events.”
During her tenure as ACS president, Helen Free felt honored
when called upon to bestow Student Affiliates Chapter Awards
in recognition of outstanding chapter programs and activities.
Free, who also chaired the National Chemistry Week task force
for five years, has high praise for the leadership role of Student
Affiliates. “They are the backbone of this outreach,” she says.