Thursday, September 21, 2017

"A guide to the Chemistry Department seminar program"

The St. Olaf Catalog lists as one requirement for the chemistry major, the "Attendance at 12 departmental seminars after declaration of major.”  This means 12 seminars from the time you declare a chemistry major until you graduate.  Our goal in this article is to explain the reasoning behind this requirement and to share with you some tips that will help make this experience a good one for you, your professors, and your invited seminar speaker alike.  First the why, then the how.

Seminars are educational. Speaking for the faculty in the chemistry department, we strongly believe that all of us—students and faculty—benefit from taking the time each week to listen to the story of science being told by someone from beyond our local environs. It’s simply impossible for a group of about a dozen faculty members in a department to cover all of the various perspectives of chemistry. By bringing in speakers from other academic departments, various companies and chemistry-related governmental agencies, we try to gain insight into what chemistry is like "in the real world." We want to learn about areas with which we aren’t very familiar. By setting aside this time and encouraging you as a student to join us, we are saying to you, "Learning chemistry is a life-long endeavor. Keep it up!" In addition, just as anyone learning to write should read, those hoping to better their own speaking skills should listen to others speak.  Listening to seminar speakers do their thing (some of whom will be great) gives us useful tips for making effective presentations ourselves. If nothing else, it gives us an appreciation for how hard it is to get up in front of a group of strangers and say anything meaningful.

Additionally, quite frankly, the reason we have the requirement of seminar attendance is that it’s necessary. We all have the same tendency to do only what we need to do to get the job done. In the case of earning a chemistry major, that means taking the courses and getting the grades, right? Seminars are a bit like brushing your teeth. Their benefit may not be immediately obvious, but, done regularly, listening to seminars will really produce results. Seminars are such a different sort of experience—one few high school students ever have—that it takes some time to understand how much can be gained from them. By requiring twelve seminars, we figure that you will either (a) realize how important (and difficult!) speaking and communicating science is, or at the very least (b) learn a little about the world that you never would have learned listening to the bunch of us rattle on in class about how cool chemistry is.

Now for the How: Virtually all of our seminars will occur in rooms that have doors at the front of the room (RNS 310, 390, 150). This is problematic for speakers and listeners alike.  Here are a few tips for handling a late entry to, or early exit from, a room where the doors are at the front.  First, it’s OK to come late or leave early.  We all have busy schedules.  But, what should you do in order to remain as unobtrusive as possible? For a late arrival:  take a peek in the window of one door and see where the action is—usually projection will be happening in the center of the room, but check to be sure before sneaking in.  Also, while peeking in the window, be looking for which door gives easier access to a seat.  Turn off your cell phone while still in the hall.  Dig through your backpack for paper and pen before coming into the room.  Quietly enter the room from the door that interferes least with the presentation and find a seat with as little commotion as possible. The doors close rather noisily when left to their own devices; try to minimize the noise by staying just inside the door and helping it close gently.  Do not stop to get a treat to nibble...you’re late...just find a seat!  Especially if your entry brings more upheaval than you planned, it would be polite to apologize to the speaker for your late entry, after the seminar is over.  It can be unsettling to a speaker to be processing major upheaval in the audience and trying to maintain their train of thought.

What about leaving early?  This is often a bigger problem.  Our seminar speakers are asked to keep their presentations to 45 minutes plus the ever-present question and answer session.  This does not mean that they all manage to wrap things up in a timely fashion.  Common courtesy requires that the audience stay present and attentive until a speaker is finished AND while others are asking questions.  If you know in advance that you will need to leave early it is most polite to introduce yourself to the speaker before the seminar and simply say, "Hi, I'm Bonnie Hills.  I just thought I'd let you know that I may have to leave early in order to catch my ski team bus for practice this afternoon, but I didn't want to miss your talk."   EVERY speaker appreciates this.  Now, follow this up by sitting at a place from which a quick and easy escape can be made and help the door close gently once you are in the hall. There's simply nothing more unsettling for a speaker than to have people sneaking out of a seminar half-way through.  What did I say?  Is my presentation that boring?  Not pleasant thoughts when you are up in front of a crowd of strangers.  Faculty members often forewarn seminar speakers about our schedules, needing to keep tabs on lab students, running to a meeting in another building, etc.  We hope you’ll join us in trying to make every speaker’s visit to our department as pleasant as possible.

What about asking questions of the speaker?  Please do!  It's a good idea to always plan to ask at least one question.  Always plan to stay for the question/answer period and make it more fun and educational by asking your question.  The question/answer period won’t be shorter if you don’t ask your question, because faculty members will step in with questions of their own.  It’s actually polite to ask a few questions...the speaker will feel better connected to the audience.  The more questions students ask, the fewer questions faculty will ask.  Questions can be about the science, how the science fits in to other topics, or about the person's career or institution, etc.  One easy question to ask is how the speaker became interested in the topic, whatever it is.  Speakers love students who ask questions.  You'll be surprised to find how pleased you'll be with your efforts.  Some speakers invite questions during their presentation.  If this is the case, raise your hand, wait to be acknowledged, and ask a question pertinent to the current topic of the presentation.  If the speaker doesn’t notice you and moves on, lower your hand and save your question for after the presentation.  If your question will be asked after the presentation, it is a good idea to jot it down (there is space on the seminar attendance card for this) and make a note about the current slide, if appropriate to the question. Be thinking about questions during the whole seminar.  

If the question/answer period has already gone on for some time and you have a really important question to ask, consider keeping it to yourself to allow the seminar room to be dismissed, and then approaching the speaker with your question (introduce yourself first) after the room has emptied.  You will have the benefit of the speaker's full attention and your colleagues will be free to pursue their other commitments.

Now, a note about seminar attendance cards.  These cards are pretty straight-forward to fill out but we want to call attention to one particular section:  you may suggest future seminar speakers or topics.  We take these suggestions seriously, looking through piles of cards before sending out invitations to prospective seminar speakers.  So, keep the ideas coming!  Where does your card end up?  A faculty member collects these cards and delivers them to the Chemistry Department office (RNS 336).  Your attendance is then tallied in the “Grades” section of the Moodle course called “Chemistry Major.”  You can see your total seminar count and the dates of each seminar attended.  Students who have declared a chemistry major automatically get enrolled in this Moodle course.  Rarely has a mistake been made in tallying these cards, but if you want to protect yourself, take a photo of your filled-out card before turning it in.  We will be happy to look for an un-tallied card if you can show us a photo of it! 

Did we mention lunch?  Very often our seminar speakers are here for lunch and are most interested in being accompanied by students.  You can explore their area of science or their area of the country.  You can get their take on what courses are most important for your interests.  You can find out what they like most about their jobs or what jobs their graduate students seem to prefer.  There's a lot to learn about the world out there and this is a great opportunity to perform a bit of research for your future.  If you are interested in an occasional lunch-time chat with a seminar speaker, just let Laurie Prior (RNS 336) know.  It’s fun to eat at the King's Room instead of Stav Hall from time to time (and the desserts are fantastic)!  Most of our seminars are on Thursdays or Fridays; so if you are free at lunch time on either day (or both), volunteer to take speakers to lunch.

See you soon, enjoy the donuts!


Friday, September 8, 2017

Do You Have An Interest in Toxicology as a Career?

The Society of Toxicology (SOT) invites students to consider a career in toxicology. They offer students and their advisors the opportunity to learn more about toxicology by attending a special program for undergraduate students at the SOT Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, March 11-15, 2018.

On a more local level, the Northland SOT Regional meeting occurs in September and students may register for free!  This meeting, in Eagan, MN, is only about 40 minutes from St. Olaf!
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Toxicologists address critical issues and make the world a healthier and safer place by studying the effects of physical, biological, and chemical agents on people, animals, and the environment. Many students who learn about the discipline of toxicology are excited about career opportunities that involve research and the potential to make a positive contribution to health and safety.

More information can be found on theUndergraduate Student  events page.

For students with data to present, the Abstract Submission deadline is Noon ET on October 9. Award deadlines are October 9.

Undergraduate Diversity Program Student and Advisor Awards
Travel support to attend the 3-day Undergraduate Diversity Program; sophomores and juniors preferred; eligibility criteria include at least one of the following: students from diverse backgrounds including groups under-represented in the sciences, first generation college, or from institutions that receive no more than $6 million NIH funding per year.

Undergraduate and graduate students from under-represented groups who were selected for the 2014-2017 Undergraduate Diversity Program and have abstracts accepted for the meeting.

Undergraduate students who have abstracts accepted for the meeting. 

Annual Meeting Registration Waiver (for San Antonio meeting)
Undergraduate students submit the Registration Form with a copy of their student ID to Jim Dailey, Meeting Registrar, via email or fax: 703.438.3113.

Sunday Undergraduate Education Program (at San Antonio meeting)
A special program to introduce students to toxicology and graduate studies is open at no charge to undergraduates who register on the meeting registration form.

Diversity Initiatives Endowment Career Development Award
Undergraduate and graduate students from backgrounds under-represented in the sciences can apply for travel funding to attend additional education and career development opportunities to enhance their personal development.

Please be in touch with Rachel Woodson if you have any questions about the San Antonio meeting or any of these awards.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Post-back Program in Biomedical Ethics for 2017-18

Mayo Clinic announces that the Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Research Program is seeking applicants for a year long, post baccalaureate position as part of the Mayo Clinic Graduate Research Employment Program (GREP).
GREP is designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree and plan to attend graduate, law, or medical school.  Eligible candidates must have received their bachelor’s degree before the position starts.   The position is ideal for students interested in a “gap year” between their undergraduate and graduate degree programs. 

The Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Program seeks applicants for a one-year post-baccalaureate research experience in empirical bioethics research, as part
of the Mayo Clinic Graduate Research Employment Program (GREP). Students will participate in educational activities and conduct bioethics research in a mentored environment.

GREP is designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree and plan to attend graduate school or medical school. Eligible candidates must have received their bachelor’s degree before the position starts. GREP students are eligible to take graduate-level courses through the Mayo Graduate School. The position is ideal for students interested in a “gap year” between their undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
One post-baccalaureate research fellow will be selected for the 2017-2018 academic year. The position may be extended beyond one year at the discretion of the supervisor but will not exceed a total of two years.

Qualifications:
To be eligible, students must have completed their bachelor’s degree before the position start date and must be pursuing medical/graduate school admission. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. All students must pass a background check and post-offer placement assessment prior to their start date.
Students must have completed coursework in bioethics or a closely related discipline such as behavioral psychology, ethics/philosophy, medical anthropology/sociology, pre- med, or public health.
The successful applicant will be:
• committed to pursuing a career in which they will engage topics in biomedical ethics
• able to work independently
• pro cient in written and verbal communication
• competent in identifying relevant peer-reviewed publications on specialized research topics
• highly motivated to learn new research methods
To Apply:
Interested applicants should email the following materials to bioethics@mayo.edu by July 5, 2017.
  1. Cover letter describing career goals and how biomedical ethics research relates to those plans
  2. Resume/CV that includes student's major, relevant coursework, honors, and related experiences
  3. A 5-10 page writing sample (such as a course paper), preferably on a topic in biomedical ethics
  4. Current college transcript
  5. Two letters of recommendation from research mentors or undergraduate teachers (addressed to Dr. Richard Sharp, Program Director). Letters should be sent directly by the recommender and must be received by the application deadline.
For more information, contact Dr. Jessica Hirsch, Biomedical Ethics Education Coordinator at 507-538- 4023 or Hirsch.jessica@mayo.edu.
For all other questions, please contact Dr. Richard R. Sharp, Director of the Biomedical Ethics Research Program at bioethics@mayo.edu.
©2016 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research | MC6924-02 
Jessica R. Hirsch, D. Bioethics
Education Coordinator
Instructor of Biomedical Ethics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Biomedical Ethics Program


Monday, June 5, 2017

ACS Webinar - Alternative Careers related to Chemistry

This June 15, 2017 ACS webinar will explore employment outside of the bench and include perspectives from folks employed by Chevron, the National Academy of Sciences, the Chemical Safety Board, and Chemical & Engineering News. Panelists will showcase several distinct fields that rely fundamentally on chemistry.

For more webinar details and to register, go to:
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/acs-webinars/professional-development/alt-careers-2.html

Friday, May 12, 2017

Forensic Science this Summer in Scotland

This course is described as 3 US credits, which means you cannot transfer it to your St. Olaf transcript, however, that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a valuable experience!




Friday, April 7, 2017

Student Research Tutor for Natural Sciences: New Student Work Position on Campus Next Fall

The Student Research Tutor for Natural Sciences will expand library research support for faculty and students in the natural sciences. This position is timely in light of the Science Library’s physical collection moving to Rolvaag, the science librarian’s part-time appointment, and the proliferation of online research resources for sciences that require specialized skills and knowledge.

The science research tutor(s) will staff a new public research service point in Regents Hall during hours that are unstaffed by the science librarian. While on duty, tutors will be connected online (via chat and video) with the main research desk in Rolvaag Library. Tutors will receive specialized, in-depth training in scientific databases and other applications that are widely used in science research, such as EndNote, Endnote Web, Browzine, and iPads. Science tutors will also participate in the existing mentorship program for research tutors in Rolvaag and attend an intensive two-day workshop prior to the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year, plus other research skills training opportunities during the year.

Successful candidates will be science majors, preferably juniors (although sophomores and rising seniors are also encouraged to apply). We seek students who are familiar with or curious about research in the sciences and enjoy digging into challenging research questions. Excellent computer technology skills (both Mac and Windows) and the ability to learn new applications quickly are desirable. Preferred candidates will have a friendly, outgoing, patient, and attentive disposition that will ensure a pleasant and positive interaction with a wide range of library users, including students, faculty, staff, and community members. They should be confident working independently and be willing to continuously improve their research and personal service skills.

This new position will impact the student’s professional development in many ways:

  • Equip the science tutors with excellent foundations and skills to conduct library-based research, particularly in the sciences
  • Boost confidence in handling their own research assignments and papers as their familiarity with research resources and techniques grows
  • Build confidence in professional interactions with various audiences
  • Practice responsible, independent work — often without direct supervision
  • Gain advanced search and bibliographic management skills, which provide excellent preparation for graduate and medical schools
  • Develop an excellent understanding of academic librarianship as a profession and, for those interested in pursuing librarianship as a career, prepare them to be successful students in library and information science graduate programs

If interested, please contact: Kasia Gonnerman, Head of Research & Instruction.  gonnermk@stolaf.edu

Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 UCSOP Pharmacy Summer Internship Program

Overview and Job Description
The UCSOP Pharmacy Summer Internship Program is an intensive 8-week summer program. Intern(s) will work on pharmacy related assigned projects and have the opportunity to shadow in a variety of pharmacy practice experiences.  The assigned projects will vary from year-to-year.  Program duties include, but are not limited to: developing, evaluating, and implementing pharmacy recruitment activities; coordinating summer programs; and assisting with UCSOP events. Opportunities for shadowing pharmacy practice or pharmaceutical science staff are available based on student interest. Interns will also complete the APHA Career Pathways Program as part of the experience in an effort to best determine potential career paths in the pharmacy profession.   

Specific Program Projects for the Summer 2017 Program Include:
·       Assistance in the development and/or enhancement of recruitment materials including, but not limited to:
o   Management of social media sites
o   Writing and managing UCSOP blog posts
o   Virtual campus visits
o   Recruitment publications
·       Assistance in the coordination and delivery of the 2017 ExRx (Experience Pharmacy) Bootcamp (Summer Camp) scheduled for June 21-23, 2017 (evening hours required)
·       Assistance in the coordination and delivery of the UCSOP Alumni Event Weekend (June 23 & 24, 2017)
·       Assist in the development, review, and reflection of pharmacy career resource documents.
·       Shadowing with Pharmacy Faculty at Charleston Area Medical Center.
·       Hands-on Experience in our Compounding Laboratory.

Intern(s) normally work 20-30 hours per week and follow School of Pharmacy rules and regulations. Occasionally longer hours, weekends and/or nights may be required. Dress for the internship is business casual with appropriate laboratory/field apparel and footwear as necessary.

Dates and Duration
The UCSOP Pharmacy Summer Internship Program is an 8-week long, summer internship program.  

Internship Session Date Range
Monday, June 5, 2017- Friday, July 28, 2017

Application Deadline
April 10, 2017

Notification Period
May 2017

Eligibility
The applicant must be, or have been, enrolled in an accredited university or college undergraduate biology, chemistry, or pre-pharmacy program.  Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  The candidate must have strong organizational skills; the ability to effectively communicate with the public in both written and oral forms; and a basic familiarity with the field of pharmacy.
Candidates must be able to maintain confidentiality as required by the University, FERPA, and HIPPA regulations and participate in scheduled staff meetings, trainings, and other duties as assigned.

Financial Support
Intern(s) will be compensated via a bi-weekly paycheck that will amount to $3,500 total for the summer.  All wages will be taxed accordingly.  The UCSOP Intern(s) can expect to work between 20-30 hours per week, with occasional evening and weekend responsibilities.

Housing and Transportation
Once a candidate has accepted an internship offer, the University of Charleston may be able to offer on-campus housing, depending upon availability.  Housing and meals are the responsibility of the intern(s).  Intern(s) are responsible for providing or making arrangements for daily transportation to the School of Pharmacy and any off campus worksites.

Application Procedure
Applicants must complete the application form listed below and submit a resume or CV, unofficial college transcript, and at least one letter of recommendation to be considered for the internship.

Contact Information
Contact Ms. Jamie Bero, Director of Student Affairs at:
jamiebero@ucwv.edu or 304-720-6685 with additional questions regarding the UCSOP Pharmacy Summer Internship Program.

About the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy enrolled its first students in 2006, and received full accreditation when the first class graduated in May 2010. Each year, the school educates over 300 student pharmacists in a new, technology-filled building. The program is known for the close cooperation between students and faculty, an emphasis on professionalism and advocacy, and PharmUC, an on-campus provider of medication therapy management and chronic disease education services for patients.


For more information, visit: www.ucwv.edu/pharmacy.