Undergraduate News

Considering Graduate School


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.

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Meet the UConn Chemistry Club

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.” Continue reading

Undergraduate Instrument Center

By Gabriella Reggiano

“Hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation” are the keywords Department Head Dr. Christian Brückner used to describe the new Undergraduate Instrument Center. This lab, located in T-310 of the Chemistry Building, currently houses an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM), an Electron Paramagnetic Resonance spectrometer (EPR), and an X-Ray Powder Diffractometer (PXRD).

With funding from the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Provost, Dr. Clyde Cady and Dr. Edward Neth spearheaded the creation of the Undergraduate Instrument Center over the summer of 2016. The Center provides students with the opportunity for hands-on experience with advanced equipment both inside and outside the classroom. Importantly, these are also instruments found in industry and research laboratories.

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Undergraduate Summer Researchers

Each summer, UConn Chemistry undergraduate students take part in research opportunities across campus and across the globe. The three undergraduate students below offer a snapshot of their summer experiences as an Analytical Chemist Intern at The Sun Products Corporation, a Student Researcher at Fudan University, and a Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Awardee at the University of Connecticut. Click on their photos to learn more about their summers and their advice for other undergraduate students.

For more information about undergraduate research opportunities, please see our Undergraduate Research page.

Chris Chapman
Ryan Clarke
Lacie Dube

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Student John Ovian Receives Portz Fellowship

john ovian2John Ovian was awarded the National Collegiate Honors Council Portz Fellowship. The Portz Fellowships support original and extended interdisciplinary projects for up to 18 months. Only four fellowships are awarded nationally each year. John will use his fellowship funds to support his work on photo-mediated organocatalysis in the Leadbeater Group.

UConn Undergraduates Conduct Research at Fudan University

Tania Mohamed & Stuart Mehrens, UConn Chemistry Undergraduate Students

Since 2Undergraduate student at Fudan012, the Chemistry Department at the University of Connecticut (UConn) has been actively developing international collaborations with other Universitas 21 institutions (the leading global network of research universities), such as Fudan University and Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) in China. The partnership has provided great channels for the exchange of students, scholars, and educational resources.

Joint research workshops were held in Shanghai in 2012 and in Connecticut in 2013. Ten undergraduates from Fudan University and SJTU have since conducted summer research at UConn. This summer, six more students are on their way to our campus, and we will visit them in Shanghai as well! Professor Michael Smith, Thomas Seery, and Yao Lin will give short courses at Fudan University and SJTU in July, and we (undergraduate students Tania Mohamed and Stuart Mehrens) will carry out organic chemistry research at Fudan University. Here, we will detail our experiences inside and outside the lab!

To follow along on our adventures in Shanghai, visit the ion uconn chem blog!