Do you want to prepare yourself for life after graduate school?

We do too!

The Chemistry Professional Development Organization (CPDO) is a group of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in Chemistry and Chemistry-related fields that work together to enhance the professional development of students in the department. 

We develop programs and collect online resources within three broad areas related to professional development:
  • Career options exploration
  • Professional skill development
  • Community and communication
All UM chemistry and chemistry-affiliated graduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in enhancing chemistry professional development are encouraged to get involved with CPDO, whether by attending a CPDO event, by sharing ideas with us, or by joining our organization.

BASF Site visit 2016:

This event was a half-day visit to BASF in Wyandotte. We began the morning with a seminar outlining the companies work in polymer, analytical, synthetic and materials chemistry. This was followed by a tour of pilot plant and scale up facilities. To end the day, BASF sponsored a lunch and poster session for students to network and present their work to current BASF employees. We plan to host this event again in approximately 6 months. Look forward to seeing you there!

Alumni Event 2016:

Registration has begun! Alumni, please register here.

Graduate students and post-docs, apply here.

All registrations and applications should be received by Friday, July 22.

The alumni networking dinner will bring together graduate students, post-docs, and alumni in a relaxed setting to discuss how their education in chemistry has guided their career path/experience.  Furthermore, we encourage advertising for any companies that might be interested in reaching out to current graduate students.  If there is a need for specific information to request permission or funding from a company (especially for travel), please let us know and we will do our best to assist.  

Prior to the dinner we plan for a few events targeting professional development.  All events will be held on the 4th Floor of the Rackham Graduate School. An outline for these events is as follows:

3:00 - 4:00 pm  - Alumni Panel

4:00 - 5:30 pm  -  Speed interviewing session

5:30 - 8:00 pm  -  Networking dinner

Alumni Panel - CPDO, CALC|UM and CSIE|UM are co-hosting an industry panel (west Rackham conference room) and an academic panel (east Rackham conference room) for alumni to talk about different careers, how they leverage the skills that they learned in grad school, and provide advice on how to get a job.  

Speed interviewing session - Alumni will set up tables as company/university representatives and graduate students can approach alumni to deliver 3-5 minute “elevator-style” pitches. Importantly, alumni are not required to be in a formal recruiting role or have job offers.  As graduate students, we want to learn more about your company and value your opinion on whether we might be a good fit (and in what positions).  Alumni are encouraged to provide immediate feedback on the general pitch or as it relates to positions at their company.  There will be a time-limit (~ 10 min) and students will then move to a different company.

While somewhat similar to a career fair, the total number of graduate student participants will be capped.  Also, the immediate feedback and networking with alumni make every interaction valuable.  Combined, these factors will transform the chaos of career fairs to an enjoyable opportunity to meet and discuss career opportunities with current grad students.

The purpose of this session is two-fold.

  1. For companies/universities:  This session will be a good way to highlight the opportunities available at your company and can serve as a scouting session for potential new hires.  The rapid fire interviews provide exposure to a large number of candidates with limited time investment.  We envision this session to serve as a supplement to existing recruiting efforts, or as an easy entry point for companies that do not have a recruiting presence at Michigan.  Furthermore, company information will be advertised prior to the event to enable students to choose which booths that they are interested in. See below for a further explanation of the expectations and benefits to graduate students.


  1. For students: Clear and concise descriptions of our graduate research is a critical skill for graduate students, especially as they enter the job market.  Training sessions prior to this event will help us to craft this “elevator pitches”, but the putting these skills to use is critical.  Students are expected to have polished pitches; despite the opportunity for feedback, this is not just a practice session.

Additionally, the speed interview event builds upon the more general panels sessions.  Students can learn about companies/universities and specific positions that they might be qualified for.  Candid alumni input about position requirements or lessons learned on the job will help students identify what types of careers they should actively pursue.  The opportunity to present themselves as qualified candidates and network with individuals in the company could help position students for opportunities when an job opening becomes available.

Networking dinner - This event will begin with a social hour from 5:30 - 6:15 pm followed by dinner.  Dinner and drinks will be complementary, courtesy of CPDO.  We are very excited to have alumni come back to share their advice and stories with us, and we hope that you will be able to attend!

Registration has begun! Please register here.

Suggestions? Comments? Tell us.

CPDO (red), Selected campus events (green), RELATE (blue)