ACS Graduate Student Symposium

Plan your own symposium for the Fall 2015 ACS National Meeting!

The ACS Division of Chemical Education's Graduate Student Symposium program affords graduate students the unique opportunity to organize a symposium at an ACS national meeting. The Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee (GSSPC) is an independent group of students responsible for choosing a symposium topic, inviting speakers, fundraising, and coordinating logistics.

GSSPC logo

As the GSSPC for the Fall 2014 ACS National Meeting, we also get to select and mentor the next year's GSSPC! Want to host your own symposium at the 250th ACS National Meeting in Boston in August 2015? Keep reading for more information on the different steps involved in planning a symposium and how you can apply!

Building a committee

GSSPC group picture Committees should be composed of four to eight graduate students with diverse research interests and at varied stages in their graduate career. Although our original committee started with the student group Women in Chemical Sciences at the University of Washington, which remains a valuable and supportive partner to our GSSPC, most GSSPCs don't have a student group affiliation. You can read more about our committee members here.

Choosing a topic

Symposium topics can target a technical area or focus on "soft" programming, although it's advantageous if your topic relates to the ACS meeting theme (for fall 2015, the theme will be "Innovation from Discovery to Application"). Try to avoid repeating a topic that has been used by any previous GSSPC, unless you can really put your own unique spin on it.

Chemistry and Global Stewardship

Our symposium is entitled "International Collaborations with International Impact: Chemistry for Global Change. We're focusing on international research efforts in the areas of energy, environment, and global health. Our topic is closely related to the 248th ACS National Meeting theme, "Chemistry and Global Stewardship," which is how we achieved billing as a main theme-related symposium.

Creating a format & inviting the speakers

Your symposium can include any number of speakers with any format. After you've decided on a topic, you'll brainstorm and invite speakers whose work relates to your theme. Think big - many graduate student symposia have included very high-profile contributors! Ours includes eight speakers who will discuss the impacts of their research and international collaborations, with topics including the spread of atmospheric aerosols, inhalable vaccines for measles, and a new global network of materials researchers. You can read more about them here!

Raising money

The GSSPC must raise the funds to cover travel costs for invited speakers and committee members, as well as symposium refreshments and advertising expenses. Raising this amount of money is no easy task, but we've learned a lot and made great connections throughout the process. Logos from some of our most generous sponsors are included below, and a complete list can be found here.

University of Washington Department of Chemistry University of Washington Clean Energy Institute
ACS Division of Chemical Education United Technologies Research Center ACS logo


ACS Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholars Office
ACS Division of Energy & Fuels
ACS Puget Sound Local Section
ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry

ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry
ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry University of Washington Graduate School

Attending ACS!

After months of planning, the GSSPC presents its symposium at an ACS national meeting. We're still finalizing the details of travel arrangements, symposium scheduling, and advertising, but we're all excited for the ACS meeting this August in San Francisco!

Interested in becoming the GSSPC for Fall 2015 in Boston? Apply today!

Please send the following materials to gsspc@chem.washington.edu by Friday, May 23rd:

  • A CV or resume for each member of your committee
  • A brief statement (500 words or less) describing why you want to be the next GSSPC
  • Two symposium theme ideas (that are different from previous graduate student symposium themes), with a brief paragraph describing each topic (include names of potential symposium speakers if you have any in mind)

You can consult our website and the ACS GSSPC page for more information, and feel free to email us if you have any questions. We look forward to receiving your applications, and we hope to see you at our symposium if you're attending this fall's ACS meeting!