The ESU Chemistry Club has become one of the premier spots for chemistry and biochemistry students to network.
“I think it’s a really good way to get in touch with other people in your major who are not taking the same classes as you,” said Christian Guzman, a junior and chemistry major. “I really got to know other people in my program, and it’s really good to have that network.”
Along with networking and making new friends, the club can also be a place to get help with chemistry classes.
“If I know someone in a class who is struggling, I can help them,” Guzman said.
Senior Conrad Richman, the president of the Chemistry Club, said the club serves as a good way to bring different majors together.
“We are not all in the same classes, but it’s a good way to get the chemistry and biochemistry students together once a week to get on the same page,” Richman said.
The Chemistry Club is open to all majors. Some of the current members are physics and biology students, too.
Richman and other club members were fortunate to be able to visit Vigon International, a local fragrance and flavor company, last fall semester. The Vigon president Steve Somers has been featured as part of ESU President Dr. Marcia Welsh’s “Distinguished Entrepreneur Speaker Series.”
Richman revealed that the owner himself invited the Chemistry Club to take a tour.
“People spend four years learning chemistry without necessarily knowing what working inside an industrial facility is like. So it’s good to get a peek at what they might actually do after college,” Richman said.
The Chemistry Club meets once every week. The main activity of the club is their weekly presentations on various chemistry topics.
Richman himself is doing research that is focused on method development and validation. He is working with Dr. Richard Kelly in trying to find better ways to take chemical measurements.
Richman’s innovative research has helped him get accepted to the University of Virginia’s doctoral program in analytical chemistry.
“We also do competitive chemistry trivia,” Richman said. “In theory they are easy, but they are asked in a tricky way to get people thinking.”
Last Thursday, Picatinny Arsenal’s Christopher Fish came back to ESU to visit the club.
Fish graduated ESU with a chemistry degree in 2001 and earned his master’s degree from the University of California. He now works in Picatinny Arsenal’s science and investment office.
Fish is a chemist by training, but he has worked in the industry mostly as an engineer. Fish gave a wide-ranging talk about his career, but he stressed the advantages of attending a smaller university like ESU.
“It was the hands-on direct experience that I had working with the equipment in my classes. But it was also directly working with the professors and the senior people here where I learned to communicate with people at that level,” Fish said.
Fish said that students from smaller universities like ESU tend to more prepared for a career in chemistry because of that faculty interaction.
“You just aren’t getting the same type of exposure if you go to a large university, and that exposure really sets you apart if you go into a job in the lab. It was a big help for me,” Fish said.
Junior Austin Pirl is an ESU Chemistry Club recruit who just started attending meetings. He loves the networking aspect of the club and is looking for an internship at Picatinny Arsenal this summer. Pirl said that he already received some advice from Fish.
Richman said that the club had a good fall semester, but the club wants to do more community outreach to showcase and promote the benefits of chemistry and biochemistry in the spring.
“We want to do more chemistry demonstrations and have more educational opportunities for the campus community,” Richman said.
Doing so is an opportunity for the club to do community outreach and get the students their first experience presenting their projects and acting as ambassadors for the STEM fields.
Fish likes the direction where the club is headed and excited to engage with them.
“Getting to see the next generation of young scientists and engineers who are going into the workforce is fun. I see them all the time when they get hired. But it’s always cool to see,” Fish said.
The Chemistry Club meets every Tuesday at 2 p.m. in room 146 inside the Science and Technology Center. Students from all majors are welcome to join and attend.
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