Meeting/Event Information

    Education Night: Prof. Tom Higgins ("How undergraduate research can change students’ lives") + Scholarship presentations and Women Chemists’ Non-Traditional Career Event

    September 18, 2015
    5:00 PM - 9:30 PM
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    Loyola University - Chemistry Department (Flanner Hall)
    1064 West Sheridan Road
    Chicago, IL 60660

    Education Night

    Please join the Chicago ACS for Education Night! Our multifaceted program features:

    • Professor Tom Higgins: Celebrated Faculty and former Department Chair at Harold Washington College will present the featured talk, on the importace of research in undergraduate education

    • WCC Non-Tradtitional Chemist Career Event: The Chicago ACS' WCC is hosting a discussion of careers outside academia and bench science

    • Poster Session: Loyola students will showcase their work

    • High School Scholarship Presentations: Talented chemistry students wil receive over $15,000, combined, in awards; their teachers will also be recognized

    • Networking: Chemists from all over Chicagoland will be gathering to make new contacts, develop collaborations, and discuss scientific ideas. 


    • 5:00 - 7:45  Registration (Flanner Hall, North lobby)
    • 5:00 - 7:45  Loyola Research Poster Session & WCC Non-Traditional Chemist Career Event (Flanner Hall, North lobby)
    • 6:30 - 7:45  Dinner served cafeteria-style at DeNobili cafeteria
    • 7:45 - 8:15  Introduction & Presentation of High School Scholarships (Flanner Hall, main lecture room)
    • 8:15 - 9:00  Prof. Tom Higgins' talk (Flanner Hall, main lecture room)


    Registration is required for dinner, which will be held in the DeNobili cafeteria, 6350 N. Kenmore; Chicago, IL 60626 (773-508-8854), across Sheridan Ave from the Chemistry building. All dinner tickets cost $15. Lecture-only registration (without the dinner) is available.


    "How undergraduate research can change students’ lives: lessons learned mentoring Chicago-area community college students"

    Prof. Tom Higgins

    Harold Washington College, Stan Israel Award Winner,
    and NSF Program Officer


    Undergraduate research is a powerful teaching method that can have a profound impact on students, their perceptions of themselves, and their visions of their future. It can be especially powerful when working with students from underrepresented groups and non-traditional students. With generous funding from the National Science Foundation and the Undergraduate Research Collaborative (URC) program, almost 300 students from 10 Chicago-area community colleges did authentic, faculty-mentored undergraduate research as part of the STEM-ENGINES URC. This paper will present data from the Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences assessment and case studies that illustrate how undergraduate research supports student transfer and eases the shock of institutional transfer beyond the community college. Overall, these experiences promoted students’ academic achievement, built their critical workforce skills, and increased their confidence regarding further study in chemistry. Over half of these students transferred to a four-year college. Students from underrepresented groups and first-generation college students were strongly impacted. 

    PRE-DINNER EVENT: WCC Non-Traditional Career Discussion

    Prior to the main talk and dinner, the Chicago ACS' Women's Chemists Committee (WCC) will participate in a pre-dinner student poster session held at Loyola University in Chicago.  Chemists with non-traditional careers will talk to students and dinner attendees about non-traditional chemistry career paths and the educational requirements needed. The setting will be casual and will be in the same area as the posters. Come and join us to learn about what working chemists can do with their chemistry degrees.  If you have an interesting career, let us know beforehand, and we would be pleased to have you join us and talk about it.  If you plan on being a chemist, and you think that being a professor and a bench chemist are your only options, think again, and join us for an interesting evening! 


    The top performers on our annual High School Scholarship exam will be recognized in a ceremony immediately prior to our evening's main talk. The sum of scholarships totals over $15,000, and smaller honoraria will also be given to the teachers of the prize winning students. For the full list of schaolarship recipients, click here


    Thomas Higgins has been a professor of chemistry at Harold Washington College (HWC, Chicago, IL) since 1998. HWC is part of the two-year college system that serves the nation’s third largest city and a majority of the students are from groups underrepresented in STEM. At HWC, he has been a faculty leader from early in his career. He was one of the youngest faculty members to win the college’s “Distinguished Professor” award. He was chair of college’s the multidisciplinary Department of Physical Sciences from 2012-2015. He was named a PKAL Faculty for the 21st Century in 2001 and attended the Baca Leadership Institute in 2004. He is active in the American Chemical Society, where he currently serves on the Society Committee on Education (SOCED). He has attended the ACS Extraordinary Leaders Workshop and, in 2015, was a recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Science. Beginning in August 2015, he became a rotating program officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation.


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    $15.00 Member ticket - dinner

    $15.00 Non-member ticket - dinner