Photo of the Collier Memorial.

2019 in Review: Chemistry Graduate Student Committee

Categories: Students

The CGSC represents the graduate students in Chemistry at MIT and strives to bring students and postdocs together outside of the laboratory environment.

Chemistry Graduate Student Committee Logo

In 2019, CGSC organized a number of events intended to foster a sense of inclusion within the community. This past year, CGSC sponsored intramural indoor and outdoor soccer, flag football, billiards, and volleyball teams. The departmental Summer Volleyball League has continued to be a popular departmental event, with participation from a record 16 teams. Coherence (Schlau-Cohen Group and Tisdale Group) kept it strictly business until the finals, but Twenty-three Threonine and Me (Pentelute Group) proved too tough a pill to swallow. Congrats to the 2019 champions, Twenty-three Threonine and Me!

CGSC has continued to sponsor many on-campus events for socialization in the department. They held monthly TGIF events, where attendees could enjoy food and refreshments in the comfort of the Moore Room after a week of work. Monthly Coffee Hours have allowed for a brief pause in the workday to rest and re-energize among coworkers. This fall, CGSC teamed up with WIC, ChemREFS, and CADI  for the first ever event co-hosted by all four student groups, the “Final Call before Fall.” With a School of Science Quality of Life grant, and the combined effort, they were able to serve more than 250 graduate students and postdocs with a taco bar, drinks, lawn games, and a bounce house! Apart from the huge success in student participation, it also increased cohesiveness and synergy between the student groups and has led to several other collaborations between student groups, such as a recent collaboration with WIC to celebrate International Women’s Day in March.

Other off-campus outings from the past year included a “Pool Party” at Flat Top Johnny’s, Sacco’s Bowl Haven at Flatbread Company, and a summer outing to Revere Beach. CGSC also hosted their annual boat cruise, Pier Review, and enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery of Boston. CGSC assisted in Visiting Weekend for prospective graduate students to make their visit informative and enjoyable. They organized a welcoming event at Flat Top Johnny’s, where prospective students had the opportunity to enjoy a game of pool with faculty members. CGSC hosted a happy hour for first year graduate students at the Thirsty Ear Pub during orientation week for the new students to get to know each other in an informal setting.

Quality of Life

As part of the Department of Chemistry’s continuing effort to enhance the Quality of Life of its members, the Chemistry Graduate Student Committee collaborated with WIC, ChemREFS, and CADI to present an annual update to the Department of Chemistry Visiting Committee (board of trustees) in the fall. CGSC is involved in active discussion with the Dean of the School of Science, Michael Sipser, and the Department Head Troy Van Voorhis to improve graduate student quality of life.

CGSC is also involved in Chemistry Quality of Life sub-committees, dedicated to improving all aspects of student life in the department. The Quality of Life committee, with participation from all student groups, has proposed changes to improve second year orals exams, proposed changes to improve group selection, and introduced a new chemistry peer to peer mentoring program, inspired by WIC’s highly successful program.

Academic and Professional Development

During IAP, CGSC hosted their annual Career Panel Series, wherein dozens of alumni convened to discuss their respective career journeys with current students and postdocs. This year, the panels included careers in academia, industry, consulting, international, and startups and venture capital. CGSC also advised first year graduate students on group selection, and, along with ChemREFS, organized informational panels for all stages of qualifying exams.