EDITORIAL: Preparation for
Graduate School Starts Now
BY CYNTHIA LARIVE
Do you have any questions relating to ACS
student chapters or other programs at ACS?
If so, e-mail us at email@example.com and
we’ll find your answer.
If you’re considering graduate school, there is a lot you can do to ensure your success… and it’s never too early to start. Most important is completing a rigorous undergraduate curriculum,
such as one that meets the requirements of an ACS-certified degree. Since
chemistry research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, taking electives
in other scientific areas of interest can be good preparation for interdisciplinary graduate work.
While your B.S. curriculum is likely to be course-intensive, graduate programs, especially those leading to the Ph.D., place less emphasis on courses and
more on research. Therefore, completing an undergraduate research experience is excellent preparation. As a researcher, you will learn how chemistry is
practiced, experience the challenges of asking scientific questions and designing experiments, and gain important skills and experience working in the lab as
part of a research team.
Consider applying to an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
program, which offers summer research experiences and provides a stipend
that will allow you to live and work at another university in the U.S. or abroad.
Alternatively, you could take advantage of summer internship opportunities at
a corporate or government lab.
In graduate school you will be expected to give seminar presentations, write
papers, and prepare a thesis or dissertation describing your research. Therefore, it’s helpful to look for opportunities to hone your communication skills by
presenting your undergraduate research results on campus and at regional or
national ACS meetings.
Some students have trouble choosing one particular area to focus on in
graduate school. To learn more about the different areas of chemistry, attend
(or start) a seminar program in which students give presentations on their
research or recent literature developments. Reading the scientific literature will
also give you a better grasp of modern chemistry and the leading researchers
in your field of interest. The ACS Directory of Graduate Research ( dgr.rints.com)
is a great (and free) online tool that can help you find professors working in different areas of chemistry and related fields.
A great opportunity to build leadership and teamwork skills is to become
involved in your student chapter and in the ACS. Volunteer or work as a chemistry tutor, or organize a group of students to do chemistry demonstrations at a
All of these activities will help you develop the skills you need to be successful in graduate school and beyond. The sooner you take charge of your own
professional development, the better you will ensure your success as a future
M.S. or Ph.D. student. C
Q: This year I am living off- campus, so I have a new
address. How do I notify ACS?
A: You can update your address by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by logging in to
www.acs.org to edit your member profile. Click on Show
Account Details and then Edit My Profile.
Q: Is inChemistry magazine available online?
A: You can access the current issue and past issues dating back to 2006 by clicking on the
inChemistry cover photo icon at www.acs.org/undergrad. Recently
added features include a searchable archive.
Q: Are chapters eligible to receive grants from ACS?
A: All active ACS chapters in good standing may be ligible to apply for five types of grants that are
offered by the ACS Undergraduate Programs Office:
Undergraduate Programming at Regional Meetings
Grant — Receive up to $2,800 to develop undergraduate
events and activities for ACS regional meetings. Proposal
deadlines: late September 2011 for the ACS spring 2012
regional meetings; early November 2011 for the ACS fall
2012 regional meetings.
Starter Grant for ACS Student Chapters at Two-Year
Colleges— Receive up to $500 to start or reactivate an
ACS student chapter at a two-year college. Deadline:
November 7, 2011.
National Meeting Travel Grant — Receive $300 to
help ACS student chapters cover registration fees, lodging, and/or transportation costs associated with ACS
national meetings. Deadlines: mid-January 2012 for ACS
spring 2012 national meeting; mid-June 2012 for ACS
fall 2012 national meeting.
Community Interactions Grant — Receive up to $500
to help improve the science learning experience of minority children through community interaction and projects.
Deadline: June 2012.
Innovative Activities Grant — Receive up to $500 in
matching funds to support new and innovative chemistry-related projects. Deadline: June 2012. C
For more details on these grants, please visit
inChemistry • www.acs.org/undergrad