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Otterbein student chemists attend and present at American Chemical Society conference

Otterbein student chemists attend and present at American Chemical Society conference

By Courtney Kilmer ‘17

Earlier this month, two Otterbein professors took six chemistry students to San Francisco to the annual American Chemical Society meeting. It was a gathering of over 17,000 chemists exchanging ideas, theories and projects. There are a variety of different sessions and presentations, and even a symposium specifically for undergraduate students to present their research.

According to Joan Esson, Otterbein associate professor of chemistry, students are eligible to go if they have active research and have come far enough with their research to tell a story. Each student is responsible for creating a poster about their study and then presenting it at the undergraduate symposium at the ACS meeting.

“Not only was it an opportunity to talk with other students about their work, but it allowed me to test the waters of speaking professionally to unfamiliar faces and experience what an ACS National meeting was like,” said Mallory Gasbarre, a senior chemistry major who attended the meeting this year.

Many schools across the country have their own student chapters of the ACS, but Otterbein is unique because of their activity level in ACS national and regional meetings.

“We have a really active local branch of the ACS, so we’ve been taking our students to local ACS meetings and they’ve been able to meet some chemists that are in the area,” Esson said.

In order to afford to go to the conference, Otterbein offers students a student research fund, and there are endowed funds available as well. Two alumni also donated money to student travel, and while the students were in the Bay area, they were invited to an alumni gathering to meet other chemistry alumni who live in the area.

Taking students to this conference was truly a great experience, allowing them to develop their interests in different forms of chemistry.

“I think when you’re at a smaller school, it’s kind of isolating,” Esson said. “You only have so many chemistry majors around you, and it’s like, ‘I’m unique, I’m one of a few chemistry majors on campus.’ Then, when you go to the ACS meetings, suddenly it’s ‘Wow! There’s all this amazing chemistry going on and there’s so many more people to interact with.’”


Learn more about the Otterbein Department of Chemistry.