2019-2020 RIW: “Build-A-Research”: Learning to communicate and share

RIW stands for Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops

Faculty Advisor: Prof. J. Scott VanEpps

Coordinators: Muru Zhou, Shamalee Goonetilleke

Topic Statement:

For many students making their way through graduate school the path can seem somewhat of a maze. From learning how to become a seasoned researcher to learning how to communicate the research they do, students can find themselves lost. Additionally, graduate school can sometimes be an isolating experience as students spend much of their lives working independently in labs. To address these issues, our workshop seeks to empower graduate students, especially those working in polymeric sciences, with the skills of research development and public communication as well as fostering a sense of community. The workshop will consist of a professional round-table discussion, a scientific illustration workshop, a research ethics-related hackathon, four industrial seminars, “speed-research”picnics and community-building activities. All the events will engage graduate students to develop research in a collaborative environment and practice communication skills.

The ACS POLY/PMSE student chapter serves to organize and sponsor activities for students interested in polymer science, engineering, medicine and technology. Our student chapter is closely connected to the Macromolecular Science & Engineering (MacroSE) program at the University of Michigan. MacroSE is an interdisciplinary program associated with the College of Engineering, the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Physics, and the Department of Biologic and Material Science at the School of Dentistry. ACS POLY/PMSE student chapter is primarily comprised of MacroSE students which are distributed in various departments. The MacroSE program does not have the resources of a larger department thus, the POLY/PMSE student chapter facilitates many professional development activities for which our students would not otherwise have direct access. At the same time, ACS POLY/PMSE goes beyond MacroSE. The activities sponsored by our ACS POLY/PMSE student chapter bring together departments and foster student interest in the polymeric disciplines. Our events attract students outside the MacroSE program who have interests related to polymers, engineering, and science. “Build-A-Research”: Learning to communicate and share” workshops will benefit students from MacroSE and also the whole engineering community.