Younger Chemistry Education Scholars Report, Fall 2019

The Younger Chemistry Education Scholars (YCES) committee is having a great year filled with professional development opportunities. I wanted to take some time to invite the chemistry education research community to participate in a number of initiatives that YCES will be taking on in the near future.

YCES Blog Running on all Cylinders

The first item of note is that YCES will be renewing our interest in collecting articles for our blog ( We hope to be able to publish one article every month on issues that relate to chemistry education research. If you know someone that you think would be able to write an article of interest to our community, please contact me (

Recruitment of CER Graduate Students

Our members have reported a dearth of new graduate students in recent years. As more and more CER programs are opening up, more and more faculty are in need of grad students and postdocs. YCES will be taking a few initiatives in attempt to promote CER to an undergraduate audience.  Some of these ideas include:

Emails to key list servs: We will be composing a letter to various list servs (such as NARST, ACS divisions, and some other organizations) that briefly advertise what CER is all about, how to get involved, career options, and available graduate programs. We hope that this can get to word out to undergrads who might not have heard about CER previously. We would definitely appreciate any feedback from the community and will be sure to ask prior to this being sent.

Integrate with the ACS student chapters: Student chapters exist all over at the undergrad level and they have influence in their local universities. This is another avenue that can be explored by hosting an Ask Me Anything on Reddit or maybe just trying to get in contact with a number of these organizations. If they can make sure that all their members know about CER, this would be a great avenue of advertising.

REU opportunities in CER: As a general encouragement to all, we would like to encourage faculty to submit for REU sites in CER. These are few and far in between, but if they are activated, they could be a very effective recruiting tool for undergrads to get experience in CER prior to grad school.

Update “Planning for Graduate Work in Chemistry” page from ACS: We want to get in contact with ACS Education to make sure that CER is represented in the primary ACS pages. If CER is not visible within the ACS, we will be missing out on ways to recruit new students.
Publish an article in IYCN or YCC newsletters: Getting CER out to any community is likely to be helpful in recruiting strong students.

Recruiting Universities to open CER Positions

If the above recruitment tactics will bring success and we can actively recruit more CER graduate students, we also want to make sure that there are viable career options for those students. One way that we can do this is by making an attempt to chemistry departments and college of sciences as to why CER fields can be of benefit. We plan to contact deans and department heads where CER programs don’t currently exist in attempt to portray these benefits. Many faculty simply aren’t aware of CER as a field, but if they become privy to the benefits of a CER faculty, they may consider opening a faculty line. There are currently 196 chemistry departments with a Ph.D. program; a relatively small proportion of which have active CER programs.

If you read this and are interested in helping out in any of these efforts, please know that we would love your help. In fact, we can’t really do this without the support of the chemistry education community! Please let me know if you have any questions about these initiatives.

Jordan Harshman
Chair, YCES

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