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:

April TBD: Academic/Industry career panels

Recent graduates will detail how they prepared for and navigated the job market to successfully land a position.  Common pitfalls and advice to overcome the frusterations of a job search will also be discussed.

Friday May 13, 2016: Academic Panel 

On Friday May 13th, 2016 at 1:00 pm in 2404 CPDO will be hosting a panel to discuss applying for academic jobs.  Our invited panelists are Ginger Shultz (University of Michigan) and Douglas Genna (Youngstown State University).  The session will be comprised of a brief overview of their experiences followed by a guided question and answer portion.  Snacks will be provided.

Tuesday May 24, 2016: Post-doc Panel 

On Tuesday May 24th, 2016 at 1:00 pm in room 2642 CPDO will be hosting a panel to discuss how to apply and what to expect from post-doctoral positions.  Our invited panelists are three Post-Docs from chemistry, Jared Hansen (Zimmerman), Anna Dunn (Sanford), and Caitlyn Makins (Marsh).  The session will be comprised of a brief overview of their experiences followed by a guided question and answer portion.  Snacks will be provided.

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 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 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 - 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 - 6:30 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!