Younger Chemical Education Researchers Task Force Report, Fall 2012

The task force was very busy at the 243rd ACS meeting in San Diego, CA. We participated in many events to further our task force charge, “The taskforce is to generate infrastructure for supporting graduate students and post docs engaged in pursuing chemistry education and outreaching to undergraduates potentially interested in chemistry education-inclusive graduate programs.” We held a meeting where it was decided that the task force needed to 1) increase in number with graduate students and post docs from various institutions and length of time in their respective programs and 2) the chair of the task force needed to be a current post doc or senior graduate student for the upcoming academic year therefore, the position of chair was transferred from Cianán Russell to Kim Linenberger.   

The task force was able to hold an informal social event for CER graduate students and postdocs on Sunday, March 25, 2012, in collaboration with the Younger Chemists Committee with financial support from the Innovative Projects Grant (IPG) received in 2011. The event was advertised prior to the conference on Facebook and the CER listserv. This working lunch, hosted at Karl Strauss Brewery, consisted of 32 CER graduate students and postdocs broken into discussion groups focusing on the goals of the Task Force including undergraduate outreach; post doctoral positions and beyond, and our online presence. Attendees were very excited about the potential for future events and members were recruited for the Task Force.

In addition to our own event, task force members also were present and participated in multiple other events at the ACS meeting. Members discussed the possibilities of CER graduate programs with undergraduates presenting at the undergraduate poster session. Kim Linenberger represented the CER graduate programs as a member of the Graduate School Reality Check panel within the ACS undergraduate program.  Members of the task force represented the Division at the ACS Graduate Student and Post Doc reception on Monday evening. We were excited to see approximately 10 graduate students and post docs from the Division in attendance.  Finally, the Chemistry Education Research: Graduate Student Research Forum Symposium was held for the third year. This symposium was organized and presided by Justin Carmel and Mary Anzovino, both graduate students, and allowed 10 graduate students an opportunity to present their “works-in-progress” and get feedback from the members of the audience. This symposium was well attended and has historically allowed chemistry professors interested in learning more about CER a “safe place” to learn and allows for constructive feedback and discussion for students from smaller programs..

Based on feedback received from the task force lunch in regards to online presence, we have begun talks with the CCCE to start a YCER Blog. This site would address specific questions from undergraduates, graduate students, post docs, and young faculty in CER. Each blog would be written by a guest (person from the CER community) blogger. We will have RSS feed access set up so readers can get automatic updates.

The Biennial Conference on Chemical Education in State College, PA is looking to be another great opportunity to further our charge from the Division. We have a meet and greet event scheduled for Monday, July 30 at 7:00 pm at Kildare’s Irish Pub for all CER graduate students, post docs and new faculty. Be sure to stop by and catch up with your colleagues. Appetizers will be provided with financial support from the IPG received in 2011. On Wednesday, August 1, 2012, be sure to bring your lunch to the YCER “Birds-of-a-Feather” where we will be discussing FAQs within the YCER community. We also encourage those in the YCER community to check out the following symposia we found to be of particular interest to YCERs which are organized and presided by those in the YCER community. Jordan Harshman and Janelle Arjoon, graduate students, will be presiding over “Chemistry Education Research: Graduate Student Research Forum Symposium” (Monday 9:30-12:30 and 2:00-5:00). Stephanie Ryan, post doctoral research associate, and Thomas Bussey, graduate student, will be presiding over  “Theoretical Frameworks: What Are They, Why Should I Use Them, and Which One(s) Should I Use?” (Tuesday 9:30-12:30 and 2:00-5:00) and Sachel M. Villafañe and Xiaoying Xu will be presiding over “Quantitative Strategies in Chemistry Education Research” (Wednesday 9:30-12:00 and 2:00-4:30). We look forward to seeing you in State College.

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