Invite alumni to visit
Alumni can bring many opportuni-
ties directly to your members, yet are
often an untapped resource for an ACS
student chapter. Alumni can offer a per-
spective to help students envision and
plan their future careers because they have literally been where
you and your fellow members are.
Younger alumni can discuss topics like entering the workforce
or graduate school, what areas of chemistry employers are interested in, and how research is conducted in industrial, academic,
or government labs. Seasoned alumni can give members a glimpse
of how research techniques have changed over the years or what
trends have come and gone… and come again.
In addition to offering their perspective on their particular
workforce sector, alumni can help chapter members understand
the importance of, and how to start, networking. Homecoming is
always a great time to bring in alumni. With enough planning, you
can also hold alumni panels, where alumni can share their experiences and members can ask questions.
Organize a chapter
The National Science Foundation’s
Research Experiences for Undergradu-
ates (REU) program gets lots of atten-
tion. But what about students who
don’t get an REU, or first- or second-year students and chapter
members who aren’t chemistry majors?
All year, your chapter members have been meeting with stu-
dents and faculty, learning what type of research they do. Why not
see if these labs have any unpaid or even paid positions available?
Perhaps there are smaller projects that your less-experienced members can help with during the semester or over the summer.
An ACS student chapter can become the central hub and scientific
community for its members. Member events can include time for professional development activities, such as writing résumés and cover letters and presenting research findings. You could even conclude the term
with a poster session highlighting members’ contributions to science.
Show your appreciation for fellow
Get started on your
ACS student members who spend
time enriching the chapter. Many
chapters have awards such as Stu-
dent Member of the Year. Your chapter may want to recognize
the accomplishments and service that other members bring
to an active chapter, such as Active Student Researcher Award,
Student Professional Development Award, Student Master of
Scientific Techniques, and Student Master of Scientific Instru-
Chapter leaders, with input from
members and the department, have
many opportunities to shape the
direction of their chapters. Examples
include helping to connect members with research and other
learning opportunities, as well as hosting events to give mem-
bers first-hand experience in scientific techniques, tools, and
procedures. Other options are organizing activities and projects
where members can practice their initiative, work ethic, and
skills in communication, teamwork, planning, or leadership.
The bottom line is that one of the most valuable services
that your chapter can provide to its members is to provide
activities and events that are not only fun but also give members the experiences they will need to stand out from the
crowd, wherever their future careers take them.
Justin D. Fair and Anne E. Kondo are
associate professors in the chemistry
department at Indiana University of
Pennsylvania. Fair has research interests
in organolithium methodology, green
chemistry, and organic laboratory
curriculum. Kondo’s research interests are in the effects of molecular
and laser parameters on nonlinear laser-molecule interactions.