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Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences — Issues for the 21st Century: Report of a Workshop
degree requirements. So we have not been as active since then, simply because we haven’t had enough time. I am trying to do things to revitalize the organization before I leave in the hope that it will be passed on to future graduate students and students that have come in since we have had these activities. That is why I am really, really anxious to put on this one last event and, again, make it an event of particular relevance to me. But the fact is that it is hard to keep the ball rolling simply because the students don’t have much time.
Again, what I tried to hint at before is that if the institution or organizations could, for example, provide us with the funding to do these things, that would be one less thing that we would have to concentrate on, one less thing that we would have to spend time doing, if funding were already in place. But I still think that it is important for the activities to be initiated by students in order to get cooperation from everyone involved.
Soni Oyekan, Marathon Ashland Petroleum: I want to applaud all the speakers this morning—Karen Phillips, Judson Haynes, Jonathan Bundy, and Richard Weibl. They touched on many aspects that also lead to some of the things that we have been hearing throughout this workshop. Karen and Judson emphasized the diversity of thoughts, actions, and programs, and the impact on their lives. Jonathan spoke of the need to have an adequate supply of students coming through the pipeline. He stopped at the undergraduate stage, but as Chancellor Fox said last night, we must go back all the way to the elementary schools to make sure that we have students to fill up those slots that we want in the future.
In addition, while doing that, we cannot forget the underrepresented segments of our society. I must emphasize that again. I think it is important for us to look at countries that have failed to do this. For example, in my native country, Nigeria, the funds were not spent on education, and what you have today is a lot of panicking, a lot of unemployment, and weapons in the wrong hands. As a result there is no comfort or safety for anybody, including the wealthy. In this society, we can see what we gain from people when we give them the opportunities and ensure that most of our population segments are fully employed. We have seen that in the discussions in this meeting. I would like to remind this great body that this nation leads in terms of education. We need to put in place a national plan, so that 30 or 40 years from now we don’t fill up our prisons and cause difficulties for our society. It is more than just getting some superlative people to go into teaching. It is making sure that our population is fully employed.
Lynmarie Posey, Michigan State University: We have heard a lot of discussion over the past day and a half about trying to broaden the background of graduate students, while maintaining some control over the length of the Ph.D. program. I would like to get the graduate students’ perspective on the best way to achieve this goal. What do you feel is the best way to broaden your background? Is it through course work, for example, by increasing the number of courses required or instituting rules that require students to take courses in areas beyond their area of specialization? Is it through the research experience? Or do you think that broadening students’ backgrounds is best achieved by informal experiences, such as forums to explore career choices?
Judson L. Haynes III, Procter & Gamble: I think one good way to broaden the graduate student perspective is by having affiliations with or working within the professional organizations, such as the American Chemical Society (ACS). It is incumbent upon the students to start early, get involved, and get to know people in the ACS and network. If students don’t, and if they just spend 5 years in the lab, it’s possible that by the time they start interviewing they can be socially maladjusted. They have had little to no personal interaction with people outside of their research, which is different from industry,