Join in!

The Chemistry Professional Development Organization (CPDO) welcomes all chemistry and chemistry-affiliated graduate students and postdocs at the University of Michigan. 

We host approximately one event per month, with certain events (such as industry panels, academic job panels, and networking events) appearing yearly. Check out our Event Archive for ideas of events we've hosted. Have an idea for an event? Contact us - we're always looking for new ideas and we welcome your input! 

Coming up next:

Sunday, July 24: Alumni networking dinner and associated events. 

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 are urgent issues, please email or call Peter at 612)-27 5-78_8.8.

Date, times, and locations

Sunday, July 24, 2016
915 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

3 pm - Alumni panels
West Conference Room - Industry panel - Scott Osborne, Se Ryeon Lee, Joel Young, Zachary Buchan
East Conference Room - Academic panel - Becky Matz, Sam Pazicni

4 pm - Speed interviewing
Assembly Hall
Alumni participants: Scott Osborne, Se Ryeon Lee, Joel Young, Nick Babij, Becky Matz, Sam Pazicni

5:30 pm - Social hour and dinner​
Assembly Hall (and outdoor patio)
Alumni participants: All alumni that registered are invited to participate

Alumni Panel

CPDO, CALC|UM and CSIE|UM are co-hosting an industry panel and an academic panel 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

i) Format: 
2 students/post-docs will pair up with each alumni for 12 minutes at a time.  Due to our numbers, there will be several pairs of 3 students.  One student will be engaged in the interview, and the other will observe.  After 6 minutes, the students will switch.

ii) Pitch and interview: 
Students will provide a brief pitch about their background and skills to initiate the interaction.  Alumni will introduce themselves, their company, and a position (specific or general) that they are looking to fill (this may or may not be a fictional position).  Alumni willinterview students based upon these positions, and students will highlight their many qualifications for these roles.  For pairs of students without an alumni, one of the students will be provided with an example listing for a job position with several pre-generated questions.

iii) Feedback: 
Alumni and student observers will have two opportunities to provide feedback - i) specific feedback while everybody is paired up, and ii)  ~ 15 minutes will be dedicated to general feedback at the end of the session.  Please consider the clarity, efficacy, and brevity of responses from each participant.  Try to come up with at least one example where the student did an excellent job highlighting job relevant skills, and one example where the student missed the mark (missed a key opportunity).

iv) Additional alumni instructions: 
Alumni should interview students for a job position.  This could be a specific position that the company is hiring for right now, a general position (i.e. your company is looking for top overall candidates regardless of specific experience), or a fictional/stereotypical position (e.g. the qualifications of your job or the typical entry level position for PhDs).

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.  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!


As some of you may know, Art Fair will be taking place this week until 6 pm on Sunday. ​This would presents a wonderful opportunity to​
 purchase some fancy decorations. If you are planning to only come to the dinner, t
hings should be clearing out by the time that many of you arrive, but I wanted to provide you with some information on parking.  Here is a list of parking and transportation options during the
fair. Also attached is the map of normal campus parking options, including Palmer Structure which appears to have visitor parking until 9 pm.

​Additionally, available spaces in public structures are continually updated here. I'm not sure what your best option will be (I bike everywhere so I don't have to worry about parking) but hopefully one of the options listed will work.