Islam Mosa (Rusling Group) won the first place award in the 2017 Science AAAS student poster competition (Category: Physical Sciences). The award includes recognition of the poster title and the winner’s name in the March 24th issue of Science, a cash prize, certificate, and a one-year AAAS membership. A committee of 7 judges from Harvard, MIT, and industry evaluated all posters and selected the winner. The 2nd and 3rd places of the same category received honorable mentions in Science and were awarded to Hendrik Utzak and Anahita Zare from MIT and University of Missouri respectively.
By Gabriella Reggiano
Upon earning their Ph.D., graduate students of the UConn Chemistry Department can pursue careers in fields such as government, academia, or industry. The transition to life after graduate school, however, can be daunting. In order to help students navigate this next period in their lives, the Graduate Student Advisory Committee organized the 2nd Annual Alumni Panel, which included five UConn alumni: Drs. Faith Corbo, Jun Nable, Gavin Richards, Junichi Ogikubo, and Jason McCarthy. Careers ranged from a marketing manager at a specialty chemical company to an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. The group answered questions about interviewing, the merits of industry versus academia, graduating in four years, and the job application timeline.
The panelists, many of whom are now involved in the hiring process, discussed what they tend to look for in resumes and cover letters. Dr. Jason McCarthy, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, emphasized alma maters, first author publications, and evidence of productivity and independence. Dr. Junichi Ogikubo, Manager of Radiochemistry Operations at Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, offered his perspective from industry. Dr. Ogikubo stressed the importance of applicants grabbing his attention early: “I get 20 resumes in one email, so a lot of times I’m clicking through several resumes at the same time. Usually, I look at half of your first page, and if that doesn’t work, then I move onto the next one.” Each panelist also spoke about tailoring a resume and cover letter for the job. Dr. McCarthy pointed out how simple it is to identify a generic cover letter. He recommends writing specific cover letters that say, “Here’s what I do, here’s what you do, and here’s how we can work together.”
Dr. José Gascón
Associate Professor &
Chair, Graduate Admissions Committee
Because graduate application season is upon us, we interviewed Dr. José Gascón, Chair of the UConn Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee, to gain insight into the application and decision process.
What advice do you have for freshman and sophomores who are considering graduate school?
If you had some research experience and you enjoyed trying to solve a scientific question, then you will enjoy graduate school. If that is the case, then I would advise spending some time looking up the research that is being conducted within your choice of schools.
What are the top three traits/experiences you look for in an applicant?
In no particular order: transcripts and GPA, research or internship experience, letters of reference.
How do GRE scores and publications factor into your decision making process?
In my personal opinion, GRE scores are not a deal breaker and they only compliment other more important credential aspects (i.e. GPA, research experience, and letters). Publications are highly regarded if students have them, but their absence is not considered negative.
Congratulations to Graduate Student Islam Mosa for winning the People’s Choice Award in the International Universitas 21 (U21) Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition. This is the first international award for UConn in the U21 3MT competition. Islam received his award from Dr. Kent Holsinger, Dean of the Graduate School. Also, President Herbst has invited Islam to attend the Board of Trustees meeting to congratulate him for his achievement. Islam is now the winner of the Department’s and UConn’s 3MT competitions, as well as the International U21 3MT People’s Choice Award.
The 2016 competition experienced the highest number of participating students – over 1000 students presented in local heats across the network – and the People’s Choice Award saw its highest total number of online votes in the competition history; Islam received the highest number of votes among all participants.
Islam would like to thank his advisor, Dr. Jim Rusling, for the support and constructive feedback, Dr. Challa Kumar for instructing the technical communication course, and to the entire Chemistry Department for voting and supporting him!
Dr. Challa Kumar and Graduate Student Melissa Limbacher are the recipients of an Accelerate UConn Fall 2016 Grant for their project entitled, “GlowDots.”
Kumar and Limbacher will participate in the Fall cohort of Accelerate UConn, the University’s National Science Foundation I-Corps site. All winning teams receive special training and a $3,000 seed grant to help understand whether and how their technology might create customer value.
Graduate Student Sravan Thota (Zhao Group) received an “Outstanding Student Poster Award” at the 2016 ACS Philadelphia Meeting. Sravan’s poster displayed his research of “Preferential Cu diffusion to the ends of AuCu alloy nanorod during galvanic replacement reaction.” Sravan was one of two students to receive this award from the ACS Colloids and Surface Chemistry Division (a field of approx. 100 posters). Sravan received a certificate and a check for $250.
Graduate Student Matthew Guberman-Pfeffer (Gascon Group) is the recent recipient of a 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship! Matthew’s selection was based on his “demonstrated potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise.”
Graduate student Sourav Biswas (Suib Group) was selected to create a video presentation at the ACS San Diego Conference. Sourav’s research was selected from the conference’s Organic Division participants. In the video, Sourav details his research regarding “Cooperative Catalysis of Cu and Mn in Oxidative Alkyne Coupling.”