Spotlight: Pace University

Location: New York, New York
Faculty advisor: Jaimelee Rizzo
President: Aramis Sostre
Chapter Members: 180
ACS student members: 15

In what ways does your chapter contribute to the community?

We connect with high schools in Manhattan. In the Spring 2017 semester, we held our first outreach event at Pace High School in the spring of 2017 called “Pace Bonding.” We had the opportunity to talk to gifted with an interest in the sciences. They asked questions that ranged from applying to colleges to what it’s like to be a science major to what science research is like and what our chapter members were thinking of pursuing post-graduation. We also have a yearly event in conjunction with Columbia Secondary School called “Experience Chemistry Day” where 20 high school students, their principal, and science teacher visit Pace University. The students shadow our chapter members in their classes to experience the daily life of being a college student.

At their "Experience Chemistry Day," 20 high school students from a Harlem High School spent the day shadowing chemistry majors at Pace University.

What is your most successful recruiting event or recruiting method?

We promote our events around campus in hopes that those who attend will enjoy the event and want to join. The most attention-grabbing event is “Battle of the Sciences.” Different science majors form teams and compete in a decathlon type of event. This brought in more students than would normally attend a seminar, and brought our members closer together in an environment that was vastly different from the laboratory or a lecture setting. Luckily, we came into a chapter that was well established as a club and never had any problems retaining members from semester to semester.

What are your most popular or unique chapter activities?

Our most popular event is our “Chemists Celebrate Earth Week” event, while our Battle of the Sciences, the Science Gala, and our Back to School mixer are also fun and popular. The Science Gala is where all science and non-science students are welcome to a formal dress type of event with music, dancing, food, and prizes to celebrate the sciences. Our Back to School mixer is a luncheon type of event that takes place in the fall where we provide food for the chemistry department. This is an easy way for new students to meet other students inside and outside of their major and to get to meet faculty in a more relaxed setting. We also help sponsor the events held by other science clubs on campus, such as our Pre-Professional Medical Society and Forensic Science Student Organization. We see any type of involvement in the sciences as a good one and believe that we all must support each other in order to be truly successful.

How do you celebrate Chemists Celebrate Earth Week?

Earth Week is our biggest event of the year. Our chapter hosts a presentation on Earth topics like sustainability and green chemistry. We also hold seminars during common hour at the university, which are open to all students. These seminars are usually given by either alumni science students working in green chemistry or by professionals. We end our celebration by walking the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Pace University club officers at the 2017 Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (now Chemists Celebrate Earth Week) "Walk the Brooklyn Bridge" event.

What innovative communication methods are used to promote activities and events?

Our most effective communication tool is a website called OrgSync. Orgsync is an online community tool for college campuses. We use it to create profiles, view club pages, and share information. A student can request to join, and once they do, they will receive notifications in the portal and emails from OrgSync about our upcoming activities and events. One great feature that OrgSync provides can actually be used during events. We can now use a swipe system to keep track of how many members and non-members attend an event. They just have to swipe their student ID upon entry. We can log how many students attended and analyze how the event went compared to other years or other events.

Has your chapter participated in ACS national meetings?

Our members have attended the national ACS meeting in San Francisco to present their research and all of the members who attended said they were definitely impacted. Seeing other students from around the country present their research ideas and topics made those who attended even more passionate about chemistry and helped ease the fear of graduation and deadlines and turn it into an excitement for the future.

Anything else you want inChemistry readers to know about your club?

We want the readers of inChemistry to know our mission. To inspire innovation, to take initiative, to better the community, and to have fun in all that we do. We are investing in the minds of tomorrow!

Club members having fun at the CCEW photo booth event.

Faculty Advisor: Jaimelee Rizzo

Why/how did you become a faculty advisor?

I enjoy working closely with our students as it gives me a wonderful feeling of satisfaction seeing them participate in chemistry-related events. The excitement and energy that our club officers and members bring to every function is contagious! They are all so willing to help spread the good word of chemistry to the community!

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your service as a faculty advisor?

Watching first-hand how much fun our students have at all the events! They wear their custom-designed club t-shirts to every event with such pride! I also love watching the students mature over the years while at Pace and then proudly see them off to pursue their goals in graduate school, medical school, etc.

What advice can you offer those new to the advisor position?

Keep your door open to the students at all times as communication is key to getting things done. Make things fun for them and for yourself. Work hard together and play hard together!