Admitted Students Envision Themselves as Yale Chemists During Visiting Days

February 28, 2022
Chemistry building in welcome slide

Prospective students joined the Yale Chemistry community on Feb. 10 –  11 to learn about the research program and campus life at the much anticipated ‘Visiting Days’ event. The two-day series of programs, intended to inform admitted students of all Yale has to offer, was held virtually for the second year in a row. A second session will take place on Mar. 10 – 11.

This year’s event was led by Visiting Days Committee Chair Timothy Newhouse, associate professor of chemistry, and organized by staff members Lisa Hines, Michelle Ferrara, Carolyn Kyrtopoulos, Maggie Simonsen, and Kara Swenson. With the help of graduate student and postdoc volunteers, led by student liaisons Payten Harville, Marcus Vinicius Pinto Pereira, Jr., and Kristian Oleson, and other staff members, the organizers successfully redesigned the in-person event to a virtual format under short notice due to pandemic restrictions.

In one month, they create 16 hours of program content to be broadcasted over two days via live and pre-recorded video for the 100+ participants, in addition to building a dedicated website and arranging 78 individual in-person visits. The program featured research talks, faculty meet-and-greets, Iab and facility tours, extracurricular activities, New Haven tours, and Q&A panel discussions.

Opening the event, Kurt Zilm, department chair and William K. Lanman Professor of Chemistry, introduced a cross-section of faculty who gave a sampling of the exciting research underway in the department in a series of “Grand Challenges in Chemistry” talks.

“Yale is in an exceptional period of growth and science, and despite the economic difficulties faced by the nation, funding for research continues to grow,” he said. “Our faculty is in a continuous process of renewal and reimagination, defining the cutting edge of chemistry and all the ways it impacts society.”

- Kurt Zilm, department chair and William K. Lanman Professor of Chemistry

Having set the Zoom backgrounds to a Yale blue molecular design, the hosts shared their scholarly and extracurricular activities. Faculty explained how the legacy of the great Yale chemists lives on in the department’s current research. Representing the seven research areas available to prospective students, graduate student volunteers gave lab tours and spoke in Q&A sessions. Attendees learned about various student groups and visited coffee shops, restaurants, parks, and campus hangouts via video walking tours. All this in an effort to show Yale is an excellent place for an independent scientist to grow. And the city of New Haven has something to offer everyone.

“Much of the content of Visiting Days was created and steered by our graduate students. It’s their enthusiasm for our department that elevated the online event,” said Newhouse. “Our students fully recognize that competition for these top students is fierce, and that it is the students that determine the quality of the department.”

 Timothy Newhouse, associate professor of chemistry and Visiting Days Committee Chair 

An extraordinary amount of work took place behind the scenes in a short period of time to make this a successful event.

One of the biggest challenges was changing to a virtual event in a short amount of time while maintaining the energy of a typical showstopping Visiting Days. To do this, the organizers created a thoughtful survey to learn about the students’ interests in and outside of school to design programming that showed Yale as an ideal home for the next six years. They enlisted faculty to personally build relationships with individual students matched with their research area. Before even attending Visiting Days, students spoke with their potential PI to learn about the program and their lab.

“The whole group worked collaboratively to make the event seamless,” said Lisa Hines, Operations Manager and lead administrator of the Academic Support Team. “We all brought our own unique strengths to the table. Everyone understood the time constraints and what components we needed to carry out to get to the next step. It was wonderful to see such commitment to making this a success.”

- Lisa Hines, Operations Manager

In addition to a PI, each student is paired with a virtual and in-person student host. They will tour the labs, campus, and city together when they visit. Until then, they will enjoy a welcome gift bag that includes local artisanal snacks and a note from their host.

Chemistry alumni made the in-person visits possible through their generous contributions to the Chair’s Fund.

Special thanks go out to graduate student volunteers Isaiah Aguilar, Brandon Alexander, Emily Barth, Noah Bartfield, Ali Bodnar, Dan Brandes, James Breton, Michael Burke, Rachell Cantrell, Matthew Capobianco, Apala Chaudhuri, Claire Cody, Abbigayle Cuomo, Julia Curley, Tony Deziel, Joseph Dickinson, Diondra Dilworth, Taylor Dover, Nico Dwarcia, Jungmin Eun, Jessica Freeze, Yuan Gao, Noreen Gentry, Noah Gibson, Nathaniel Greenwood, Benjamin Groff, Sabrina Grunseich, Melody Guo, Nia Harmon, Alec Hegg, Reagan Hooper, Rebecca Howell, Xin Huang, Phillips Hutchison, Susannah Huth, Josephine Jacob-Dolan, Kevin Jiang, Ray Kelly, Thien Khuu, Eddie Knab, Dan Konstantinovsky, William Lake, Olivia Langner, Katelyn Lee, Jaehoo Liu, Yangyi Liu, Yannan Liu, Krystyna Maruszko, Jenna Cailin Molas, Tyler Myers, Hannah Nedzbala, Sarah Ostresh, Brahmmi Patel, Valentina Rangel Angarita, Tom Regan, Conor Rooney, Sydney Schuster, Juan Serviano, Bo Shang, Shanelle Shillingford, Eleanor Stewart-Jones, Andrew Streit, Nicolò Tampellini, Jennifer Troiano, Lucille Tsao, Tayah Turocy, Maria Vargas-Rivera, Bernie Wang, Kevin Wernke, Yanyu Zhao, Adam Zoll, and Linda Zuckerman, postdoctoral researcher David McDonald, and administrative staff Robert Berry, David Keller, Erin McAvoy, Fabian Menges, Brandon Mercado, Eric Paulson, Charlyn Paradis, Daryl Smith, and Preston Smith.

To volunteer for Visiting Days 2023, please email the Academic Support Team.