ChemistryWestern Science

May 2014: SOUSCC and 4491 Day

All Chemistry Specialization and Honors students at Western defend a thesis on their own research as part of earning their Chemistry degree.  There are two events centered around this accomplishment.

Some of the winners of SOUSCC 2014 from left to right: Joseph Turnbull, Filipe de Souza, Vanessa Beland and Brittany Lewis.

The first is the (42nd) Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference (SOUSCC) where chemistry students from across Ontario meet to present their research in front of panels of judges and peers.  This year the conference was held at the University of Windsor and a total of 85 papers and 34 posters were submitted for consideration.

Out of the twenty Western students who competed, seven won, sweeping the first, second and third prizes of the Analytical Chemistry Section, as well as the first prizes in the Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Materials Chemistry sections.

Vanessa Beland, first prize winner of the oral presentation in materials chemistry, says what may have given Western an advantage is the timing of the conference and the Western students’ opportunity to hone their communications skills during the end-of –term presentation of their respective thesis project research findings. “It was really good practice because we had to do the exact same thing the next week except it was in front of two examiners. They can ask you anything, and I was terrified. In the end, answering the questions wasn’t so bad” commented Beland. Beland is now pursuing graduate research at Western in the Ragogna laboratory.

The emphasis for SOUSCC is not so much the success or failure of experiments, but the thought processes in developing a method and procedure. The conference was also a chance to see how peers from other universities approached problems.

Congratulations to all the Western Science students who brought home awards:

The week after SOUSCC the graduating class formally defended their thesis, and were examined by two experts, either Western faculty or volunteers from local industry.  After the annual class photo (below), there is a celebration lunch held at the GradClub.  Thanks to all who contributed to make this a successful day.