The University of Central Arkansas
The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) ACS student affiliates chapter was approached by the 2008 ACS Southwest Regional Meeting (SWRM) planning committee to plan the Undergraduate Programming for the meeting held at The Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, AR.
One of the most important and exciting parts of an ACS meeting is the opportunity for students to present their research. We originally only expected to have one poster session and a half-day oral session. This grew to two undergraduate posters sessions with 98 total posters, plus one half-day oral session and one full day oral session with 23 students presenting talks. Many students benefit from presenting research through oral seminars, so the more spots available for this, the better. These high participation numbers were exciting, but caused some last minute changes in event locations and times. We learned that you had to be flexible and communicate often with the meeting chairs. We were honored to have Dr. Keith Pannell, an inorganic professor at University of Texas at El Paso and recipient of the 2004 ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, deliver a Plenary Lecture to open the Undergraduate Sessions.
Graduate School Expo & Breakfast
We were also very proud to have 21 graduate schools attend our Graduate School Expo & Breakfast. We began contacting schools in May for the meeting in October. We found it easier to assign each student a state. A good place to start looking is the Directory of Graduate Research (http://dgr.rints.com). We then set up a contact list and sent mass emails out to all schools inviting them to the Expo & Breakfast.
With more graduate schools participating, there was more interest from students to attend the meeting. In addition, we received a portion of the booth registration fee from the expo to cover the costs of our breakfast and luncheon events. This is a huge event for undergraduates, because it provides students with the opportunity to talk to many regional graduate programs in a single day. The Graduate School Recruiting Breakfast provided attendees another opportunity to interact with the graduate schools. Events with food always encourage participation. This event was good for a student who already has a specific graduate program in mind.