Minnesota Local Section

February 6th: The Future of the Undergraduate Chemist

Speakers: Panel Discussion  


Location: 150 Hagfors Center, Augsburg University


Directions to campus from the major highways. Park in Short-Term Visitor Lot E or off-campus. Please see this campus map for a visual.


Time: 5:00 - 6:00 Executive Committee Meeting (Room TBD)
           6:00 - 7:00 Social and Dinner (Room 150 A)
           7:00 - 8:30 Panel Discussion (Room 150 B & C)

Cost: $20 for members or non-members / $5 for students

Menu: Herb & Garlic Oven Roasted Boneless Chicken Breast. 7 oz boneless breast of chicken marinated in a fresh herbs and garlic olive oil and baked to a golden brown, accompanied by guest choice salad, vegetable, starch, and dessert choices.

RSVP: Please let us know if you are coming to the meeting. If you are coming to the dinner, please pay with PayPal if possible. Otherwise, we will take cash at the door. If you are just coming to the talk, have dietary needs, or any other questions, please contact Arianna Ahl.

Meal Ticket: If you are coming to the dinner, go to the "Web Store" link on the MN ACS page to purchase meal reservations through PayPal. You can use PayPal as a guest without creating an account.

Deadline: February 1, 2018

Abstract: In a recent issue of the ACS publication C&EN Chemical and Engineering News, Donna Nelson, Ph.D., ACS Immediate Past President stated “current chemistry degree course requirements are misaligned with employer expectations of graduates’ skills”. She also added, “ACS-approved degree programs should be evaluated for their use in producing employable chemists. Cross-functional training, which bridges new and traditional fields of chemistry, should be evaluated for its impact on student employment prospects”. ACS surveys of recent bachelor of chemistry graduates show that between the three years 2014 to 2016, the nationwide unemployment rate remained between 12 and 13 percent. Surprised? For the year 2016, approximately 40% of surveyed undergraduate chemists had plans to go on to graduate school. The unemployment rate for undergraduates is presumably much better here in the Metro and Midwestern area of the country, but regardless, this is something to be concerned about.


We have pulled together a panel of local faculty and industry hiring managers to explore and discuss current educational programs and hiring practices. Are our colleges producing a surplus of chemists? Are the current chemistry programs being offered providing the education and training that industry needs and desires? Is it necessary for our students to continue on to graduate school or into other fields like medicine to feel rewarded and make a competitive salary with other professionals? What does the future hold for those that prefer a career with a bachelors degree in chemistry?


An excellent event for current undergraduate chemistry majors, chemistry faculty, and hiring managers.


Panelist Bios:

Faculty include: R. Lee Penn, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Director of Undergraduate Studies, UM; John Thoemke, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Co-Chair of the Chemistry Transfer Pathway Team for Minnesota State schools, Mankato State University, Mankato, MN.; Ron Brisbois, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and member of the ACS Committee on Professional Training, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.


Local industry hiring managers include: Fred LaPlant, Ph.D., Advanced Product Dev. Specialist, Biopharmaceutical Purification, 3M Company, St. Paul, MN; Alan Tsukerman, M.S., Manager of Chemistry and Analytical Services, Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Maple Grove, MN.; Scott Pettibone, M.S., Manager Analytical Chemistry, WuXi Apptec, St. Paul, MN; and David Burleson, Ph.D., Program Leader, Global Analytical & Microbiology, Ecolab, Eagan, MN.


Moderator: Bruce Bear, M.S., Retired chemist with Ames National Laboratory, 3M, and Medtronic. Adjunct chemistry faculty at various MN state colleges and universities. Currently serving on the executive committee for the MN Section of ACS and volunteer with various outreach activities.


Flyer: February 6 Meeting Flyer (distribute and post as needed)