You may be reading this edition of inChem- istry because you’ve already decided to pursue an advanced degree in chemistry. Or, if you are like me when I was an undergraduate, you may be unsure what you want to be,
whether you should go to grad school, and what to
expect if you do so. In either case, you’ll find many
resources in the following pages and on the ACS
website that can help you.
My parents were teachers, and I was sure that being a teacher was
not in the realm of possibilities for me at the time. I also knew that
you needed to grow horns and a tail before becoming a university vice
president or graduate dean (mine are coming in nicely, thank you).
I had done undergraduate research in a number of research groups,
trying different flavors of inorganic chemistry, and hadn’t decided what I
wanted to do for a career. I tried a co-op internship before I eventually
decided to go to graduate school. Along the path to earning my Ph.D.,
I still had no specific goals, but I did end up on an interesting academic
trail and earned a graduate degree that opened doors for me.
Clearly, I’m not the “Uncle Sam” recruiting poster for graduate school
(even though that’s really my day job). My point is that there are many
ways to get to a place where you might decide that a graduate degree in
chemistry is right for you. To quote Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your
head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction
To decide on your own direction, there are many questions to ask
yourself, and two of the most important are: “What are my career goals?”
and “What kind of graduate degree will I need?”
To find the answers, you should build and then utilize your own net-
work of trusted colleagues — all of whom see you differently than you
see yourself. In my own experience, having good faculty mentors and
advisors, close friends, and an understanding spouse were each critical in
Along your professional path, seek out the resources and signposts
that ACS provides for you. Peruse the ACS Directory of Graduate Research,
get involved in your student chapter or local section, connect with peers
and potential employers at regional and national meetings, and get
engaged with your division or committees, such as the Younger Chemists
Committee. Find all the resources you need at the Graduate Student
web-page ( www.acs.org/grad) of the ACS under the Education tab.
Best of luck to you on your own path. iC
Peter K. Dorhout is Vice Provost for Graduate Affairs at Colorado State University,
is Chair of the ACS Graduate Education Advisory Board, and also represents District V on
the ACS Board of Directors.
Do you have questions relating to ACS student
chapters or other programs at ACS? If so, ask
Robin at email@example.com!
Q How can we start or reactivate an ACS student
chapter on our campus?
A Once you identify a faculty member to serve as your
chapter faculty advisor, complete an Application for an
ACS Student Chapter Charter and compose a set of
proposed bylaws for the chapter. The application and a
sample set of bylaws are available at www.acs.org/
undergrad. When your application is approved, ACS
will grant your school a charter and send it to your faculty advisor or the chair of the nearest ACS local section,
who will present the charter to your new ACS student
To reactivate a student chapter, complete the Chapter
Reactivation Application at
www.acs.org/undergrad. Once your reactivation application is approved,
you will receive a letter confirming your status as an
active student chapter.
Q How can our chemistry club qualify to be an
active ACS student chapter?
A Each student chapter must have at least six paid ACS
student members on its roster to be recognized as an
active ACS chapter. To maintain active status, ACS student
chapters must complete chapter reports at least once
every three years. Many chapters opt to submit reports
more frequently to be considered for Outstanding,
Commendable, or Honorable Mention awards or
Certificates of Achievement.
Q What is the deadline for submitting a chapter
A Chapter reports for the 2009-2010 academic year were
due on May 26, 2010. However, if your chapter missed
the deadline and wants to maintain its active status, you
can still submit the chapter report online at www.
Q We submitted a chapter report by May 26, 2010.
When do we find out if we won an award?
A The review process begins in June, and final decisions
are made in July. Reviewers’ comments are compiled
in August. A message with feedback on the report and
the award level will be sent to each faculty advisor in
September, and a formal letter to the department chair
will follow. This information will also be published in the
November/December 2010 issue of inChemistry magazine and in C&EN.
Q How can I get a link to my chapter added to the
“Find a Chapter” webpage?
A Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and
include the name of your institution and the complete
mation to appear on the page. iC
roBin LinDsey is Lead Program
Associate in the ACS Undergraduate