Chemistry and Biochemistry

Potential Graduate Students Visit BYU

Posted: Mar 23, 2011

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry just hosted potential graduate students March 18-19 in its annual site visit.

The visit officially began at the Hinckley Alumni Center on Friday evening, with a video about the history of BYU and a presentation by Dr. Jaron Hansen about the department’s modest-sized graduate program. Dr. Hansen described his experience as a graduate student in a large program and said students at BYU get a lot more attention from an exceptionally qualified faculty.
Brian Anderson, a current graduate student, said he decided to come to BYU when he was told he could work for Dr. Paul Savage and it’s worked out well for him. Anderson was at the event representing Dr. Savage, who was unable to attend, and was one of a handful of other current students handling questions about their mentors’ research, which they are usually participating in.
Dr. Hansen also talked about other benefits of attending BYU, including a diverse student body (“55 percent of our graduate students are international students,” he said), strong research programs and basketball star Jimmer Fredette.
After highlighting accomplishments and/or research of several different professors, Dr. Hansen went on to discuss opportunities in the chemistry field for potential graduate students and then covered the financial opportunities available to department graduate students, such as 100 percent guaranteed program tuition, an annual stipend and paid health insurance for married students and their dependents and moved on to research funding.
“BYU is fifth in the nation for generating licensing revenue per million dollars of research funding,” Dr. Hansen said. “That means we work on real problems with real application.”
When Dr. Hansen finished talking about recreation opportunities in Utah (“for when you’re not working,” he said), highlighting the careers of several students who have graduated from BYU, and informing any juniors in attendance about the Talmage Fellowship, the visiting students were ushered upstairs for dinner catered by Costa Vida.
Dr. Steven Castle took over as host, directing the line to get food and announcing details of the poster session afterward. While the students relaxed to eat and talk, a string quartet played classical music. When everyone had eaten and dessert had been served, members of the faculty stood by the poster highlighting their research and answered questions while the students browsed. Even Dr. Josh Price, who will join the department in June as an organic professor, flew in to meet the students and introduce his research to them.
To promote maximum browsing on behalf of students, each faculty member also had a string of raffle tickets, which they gave to each student who visited their poster. At 9 p.m. when the session concluded, Dr. Castle drew two corresponding tickets and awarded BYU basketball T-shirts autographed by Jimmer Fredette himself to the winners.
While the poster session was going on, the wife of one of the professors held an optional information meeting for all spouses where she talked about housing, health insurance, and the life of a graduate student.
Students attended the Spring Research Conference on Saturday morning and then had an opportunity to meet with select professors at 10:30. They split into groups for lunch with current BYU graduate students with the option of eating at Brick Oven, Tucanos Brazilian Grill or Thai Ruby. After lunch, about half of the students chose to go bowling in the Wilkinson Center at BYU while the other half headed to Soldier Hollow for a snow activity. Following the activity, snacks were served and the visiting students went home or to their hotel for a break.

At 6 that evening, all guests as well as members of the recruiting and admissions committees were shuttled up to Spring Haven Lodge near Springville for a nice buffet dinner and more activities. At the end of the night, everyone watched the last half of the BYU basketball game. Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points in BYU’s 89-67 win over the Gonzaga Bulldogs, leading the Cougars to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA tournament.

By Jessica Henrie