By Gabriella Reggiano

Chem Club paints the rock

The UConn Chemistry Club creates a space for undergraduates to discuss and learn about chemistry in a relaxed setting. The executive board consists of seven students: Christopher Chapman as President, Joshua Paolilo as Vice President, Farrell Brown as Secretary, Kevin Stein as Treasurer, Quinn Lacasse as Experiment Specialist, Julia Swanson as Event Coordinator, and Taylor Simao as Minister of Information. The officers decide upon a theme for each meeting that draws connections between chemistry, current events, an experiment, and a member activity. Recently, the Chem Club discussed the role of oxidation in violent reactions. Their experiment, adding a gummy bear to liquid potassium chlorate, involves the oxidation of sugar, which produces noise as well as a flame.

The Chemistry Club earned an Honorable Mention from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for their work last year. The executive board submits an annual report that includes a description of each meeting held as well as additional details about community service, green chemistry, professional development, and outreach activities. The ACS then evaluates the club on whether they met their goals, in addition to the quality and quantity of all the services they provide to the UConn community. In this year’s report, ACS specifically highlighted the Chemistry Club’s ability to create engaging and informative meetings. “The best way to retain members is to make the meetings both interesting and relevant – and it seems that you did just that. It is impressive that you combined fun and learning at your meetings.”

The Chemistry Club executive board has no intention of relaxing after receiving an Honorable Mention from the ACS. The board is looking to improve member retention throughout the year, to provide additional professional development, and of course, maintain the instructive but captivating format of their weekly meetings.

Josh emphasizes the club’s relaxed atmosphere: “We are trying to discuss chemistry and have a serious talk about it, but we’re also trying to do it in a non-classroom setting. We’re there to have fun and hang out with friends, do a fun experiment and activities, [and] meet new people all focused around chemistry.” Despite their chemistry focus, the club boasts a wide range of members. Quinn says, “There’s a lot of diverse majors…pre-meds, students from the pharmacy school. It’s cool to meet different types of people who are all interested in chemistry.”

This year, the Chemistry Club has expanded on the professional development they provide. On October 19th, the group gave a talk on undergraduate research as well as provided a resume workshop. The e-board discussed the research conducted in each professor’s lab group, as well as how to get started in a lab. Members of the e-board brought their resumes as examples to help members edit and fine-tune their own. In addition to their workshop, the club will also host a guest speaker on November 9th. Rob Doris, who has a master’s degree in chemistry, manages the Applied Measurements and Sciences Department at Sun Products Corporation. Sun Products is a detergent company based in Connecticut. Every year, they recruit UConn chemistry students for summer internships. Rob will discuss how students can prepare themselves for research in industry.

Chris encourages all undergraduates with an interest in chemistry to stop by their meetings. “The Chemistry Club is a great way to meet the other UConn chemists that you’ll ultimately be taking classes with. In addition, it’s fun to take an hour each week and relax and hang out with some friends and talk about chemistry in either really technical ways or really laid back ways…It’s a very relaxed environment and it’s one of the ways I de-stress from the week.”

The UConn Chemistry Club meets every Wednesday from 6-7 pm in CHEM A-120. Their schedule for the fall semester is included below. Their free tutoring begins after their scheduled meetings. For more information, please contact uconnchem@gmail.com.

Upcoming Fall Events

Meeting Date Theme
November 9, 2016 Industry Talk (Rob Doris)
November 16, 2016 Game Day
November 30, 2016 Liquid Nitrogen
December 7, 2016 Food/Movies