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S.A.A.C.S is for Anyone: Its Activities are Social and Educational

Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (S.A.A.C.S.) is a national student organization affiliated with the American Chemical Society (A.C.S.).  I know what you're thinking, S.A.A.C.S. members are a bunch of science geeks that spend all their time studying, but you're wrong; S.A.A.C.S. members participate in a wide variety of activities ranging from parties to national American Chemical Society meetings. S.A.A.C.S. is a very active club that provides a variety of opportunities for members to meet professors, gain connections with potential employers, serve the community, and just have a great time.

S.A.A.C.S. numerous activities make the club seem like a social group rather then a group affiliated with academia that many students consider boring.  Annual social events like Beer at Lazeer and Fear at Lazeer get the entire Washington and Jefferson campus involved in fun festivities. Although like any organization, the best activities are closed to non-members; S.A.A.C.S. annual trip, closed to its members, appeals to the outdoorsman in all of us as the most recent trips consisted of rock climbing, caving, and cannoning. At a Christmas dinner, S.A.A.C.S. members have a secret Santa and even exchange gifts with the professor's children. Events like these allow students to build good relationships with their professors that cannot be duplicated in the classroom setting.

The organization is not just a social group but is also very closely affiliated with chemistry. Chemistry professors lecture students about research the professors have done to expand student's education in an area. Our school sometimes lacks this type of research and the professors' lectures help to fill in the blanks. To expand members' knowledge of chemistry and networking in the field many members go to national A.C.S. venues. Networking made at A.C.S. venues has led to numerous members of S.A.A.C.S. acquiring research positions that both graduate school and medical school want to see on an applicants resume.

Another way to expand a résumés is by doing community service and S.A.A.C.S. actively participates in numerous community service activities.  An important activity S.A.A.C.S. coordinates in is Saturday Science: a day aimed at increasing science interest in elementary to high school students through hands on chemistry experiments.

 So as you can see, there are numerous reasons to join S.A.A.C.S. Even if you are not a Chemistry Major! S.A.A.C.S.' numerous activities include everything from parties to lectures providing a reason for socialites, nerds, handy helpers, and any college students looking to join. The range of activities S.A.A.C.S. offers makes it the best club to join on Campus.

A Great way to become Nationally Connected to Chemistry

The most important opportunity members of S.A.A.C.S. have is being associated with the American Chemical Society. Every year, S.A.A.C.S. members have the opportunity to attend the American Chemical Society's week-long national meeting to celebrate chemistry week. Since this meeting is held in opportunity filled cities like Atlanta and Chicago, the National Meeting is a great way to get a free vacation through grants the A.C.S. gives to S.A.A.C.S. members.

The national meeting is a week long event focused on teaching an important topic in the field of chemistry to the 30,000 people who attend; in 2006 the conference focused on automotive chemistry. The event also educates S.A.A.C.S. members about the numerous opportunities there are in the field of chemistry. The meeting has a poster session that contains around 1500 different posters. The poster session is a great opportunity for students to meet other chemistry students and professors. The friendships that are made during these national meetings can lead to great opportunities for building your resume.

Overall, this meeting provides a unique opportunity for college students interested in the field of chemistry to gain a broad perspective of the chemistry fields. Poster sessions and lectures teach students the most current information about chemistry and help students learn about what area of chemistry they want to pursue in a career or in interest.

Amber Bisch's Amazing S.A.A.C.S. Experience!

Here is a first person narrative based on an interview with Amber Bisch on April 5, 2006.
Similar to most S.A.A.C.S. members, I joined S.A.A.C.S. for two reasons: I am a chemistry major and everyone I talked to seemed to enjoy S.A.A.C.S. Although S.A.A.C.S. is not just limited to chemistry majors -- people with different majors join S.A.A.C.S. to learn about chemistry and participate in S.A.A.C.S. social and educational activities.

S.A.A.C.S. plays a major role in my education at Washington and Jefferson by enlightening me to a lot of information about chemistry and life that I would have never known by just attending classes. As president of S.A.A.C.S. in 2006 I was able to attend National Chemistry Week in Atlanta and some other American Chemical Society conferences. It was at these conferences where I met numerous professors and students from other institutions that showed me how many jobs there are that involve chemistry. Not only did I get to see the different jobs, I was also able to expand my networking in the Chemistry Community which has helped me get into certain graduate programs.

Although these meetings focus a lot on business, they are also a lot of fun and have been a great way for me to make new friends. Last fall break, while everyone was shivering at Washington and Jefferson, I was having a blast in Atlanta where I was visiting friends I met at the National Chemistry Week Conference in Atlanta.

The social occasions that S.A.A.C.S. coordinates are amazing. I personally love all the picnics and trips that we have with faculty members that make S.A.A.C.S.  seem like one gigantic family. I was fortunate to join S.A.A.C.S. because of everything it has given me in return for what I put into the organization.

The best way to get involved in S.A.A.C.S. is by:

  • Let Dr. Mark Harris, S.A.A.C.S. advisor, know you are interested in joining S.A.A.C.S.
  • Find out when and where the weekly meeting is.
  • Attend the weekly meetings.
  • Get involved in activities affiliated with S.A.A.C.S..

Other Links

Washington and Jefferson College S.A.A.C.S. website

Dr. Mark Harris (His page on the Washington and Jefferson Website)

About Chemistry(A website that is made to make Chemistry easier, containing articles and homework help.)

Daily Chemistry News (Science Daily Magazines Chemistry news Section)

Chem Finder (Contains anything you want to know about a compound or reaction and it's free.)

Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry (A detailed list of all the Nobel Prize winners. The list contains a variety of links to information on the Nobel Prize winner.)