West Lafayette, IN
COMPILED BY CHRIS ZEIGLER
Chapter;president: Gabriel Magallanes Number;of;chapter;members: 55 Number;of;ACS;student;members: 26
Website: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~acssa Institution;description: Large, public, rural, 4-year institution
Q: Do you have any unique
A: The vice-president of our chapter is also
the demo master and is in charge of the
demonstrations in all the meetings (about
eight demos per year). Some of the demos
we perform include the thermite reaction,
the vomiting pumpkin (for Halloween), the
colorful oscillating reaction, and the iodine
clock, among others.
Q: In what ways does your chapter
give back to the community?
A: One of Purdue University’s biggest events
is Spring Fest. Every school and department
at Purdue participates. The university sets
up tents all over campus and has activities
for students and families. The entomology
department has a cricket spitting contest;
we make oobleck. We also have a
booth at the Indiana State Fair in
Indianapolis. We give out information and provide demos that appeal
to all ages.
Q: What methods do you
use to retain members
from year to year?
A: We have weekly meetings that
include demos, scholarly activities—
such as a visit to industry or interesting spots on campus— and fun
activities, including ice-skating, Mole
Day, and Red Mango (a frozen-yogurt
and smoothie quick serve shop in our
area) Day. Our chapter also provides
a wide variety of activities, including,
field trips, and sponsors speakers,
such as professors who give talks
about their research and graduate
students who share the process of
application and graduate student life.
Q: Describe any fun social events
your chapter recently had.
A: We had a lot of fun making liquid
nitrogen ice cream during Grand
Alternative Week. Grand Prix is a big
event in which students, alumni, and
others come together for the race.
Grand Alternative Week is an initiative to provide substance-free entertainment to all students.
Q: Describe a challenge your chapter
recently overcame and how
members overcame the challenge.
A: Our membership was drecreasing. Meetings felt impersonal and similar to a classroom lecture course because we used a
huge classroom as a meeting space. After
we changed the meetings to a smaller
room, the dynamic of the interaction
between audience and invited speakers
was definitely warmer and more appealing
to the members. We also started to make
every member part of our activities so that
everyone participated in an event.
Q: Describe a special project the chapter
recently did or is now doing.
A: On Valentine’s Day, we fill test tubes
with candy and we sell them. Everyone is
amused to see the colorful test-tubes, and
we get a lot of support from the chemistry
department. The test tubes sell out quickly.
Beatriz Cisneros, 7 years
PHO TO COURTESY OF PURDUE UNIVERSIT Y
The ACS student chapter at Purdue has increased
member retention by offering weekly meetings with
a varied agenda that includes demos, invited speakers, and trips to area companies or interesting spots
on campus, and activities such as ice-skating.
Q: How did you become
a faculty advisor?
Cisneros: I have been a member of the
Purdue ACS local section leadership and
an academic advisor for undergraduates in chemistry at Purdue for eight
years, and when I was invited to be their
faculty advisor, it just felt like the right
thing to do.
Q: What challenges have
you faced in your position?
Cisneros: Since the meetings are at night
during weekdays, I can’t always attend.
I keep up with them through e-mail
and in one-on-one meetings with the
Q: What advice can you offer
those new to the advisor position?
Cisneros: Don’t worry if you are not the
perfect advisor; as long as the students
know where to find you and you facilitate their work with simple little things
(getting a room for their event, paying
for the liquid nitrogen from your
account, sending out the e-mails to the
whole department, sharing their success
with the Purdue-Chemistry community
and the ACS community), your relationship will grow and the fruits will talk for
inChemistry • www.acs.org/undergrad