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Career Opportunities for Chemistry Graduates

Opportunity in Industry

National Labs:

ORISE Program (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Technology)

The goal of the ORISE program is to connect talented college students and recent graduates to national research institutions. Interning or working full time at national research organizations like the CDC, NIH, EPA, FDA is highly competitive and the ORISE program offers connections and an edge that is key for recruiting and gaining a position in national scientific research.

They offer summer internships for current college students as well as post graduate fellowships. These fellowships are not only great for graduate school applications but also an important step to becoming a full-time employee.

More information can be found at the following link:

https://orise.orau.gov/internships-fellowships/index.html

If you are interested in working specifically at the CDC, check out the Pathways program or additional internship opportunities on the CDC website.

Corteva: Agricultural Industry

Corteva is a research corporation in the agricultural industry that aims to create sustainable solutions for vegetables that help to promote a healthy agricultural ecosystems. Internship projects range from formulation, synthesis and insecticide research. This type of work can be particularly exciting for those interested in seeing the direct biological effects of chemical research.

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Pfizer Internship

Pharmaceutical Industry

Hello everyone! My name is Jack Swanson and this summer I interned at Pfizer Inc, where I worked with the Molecular Pharmaceutics team within the greater Biopharmaceuticals group. Molecular pharmaceutics is a branch of pharmaceutical chemistry that deals with the solubility, permeability and pharmacodynamics of drug compounds. We use a number of different strategies from chemical modification to micelle formation and complexation in order to alter the physicochemical properties of a drug compound in the body and improve its solubility, permeability and/or thermodynamic stability.

My project this summer focused on the use of cyclodextrins as complexation agents in drug delivery. In short, cyclodextrins are cyclic oligosaccharides that are able to complex with lipophilic drugs and improve their aqueous solubility by interacting with them in their hydrophobic inner cavity, while H-bonding water with their peripheral hydroxyl groups. The mechanism and thermodynamics of drug-cyclodextrin complexation is still not completely understood, and much of my job this summer was doing further research on the nature of these complexes, and exploring the theorized driving forces behind their formation such as pi-pi stacking and C-H H-bonding. While it was cool and interesting to expand my chemical knowledge and learn more about biopharmaceuticals and how drug compounds interact with the body, the most valuable part of this experience was definitely just being able to experience the way chemistry is applied in the real world and see in the inner workings of a successful company in an industry I might want to enter.

My advice to students looking for internships: Don’t be shy. A little confidence and communication goes a long way in STEM. Don’t be afraid to write that email, or send that extra personal statement, because it could be what gets you the job or what makes someone remember your name. It’s also important to remember that this is a numbers game. Most companies won’t even have a human look at your application and resume until you’ve already been flagged by their computers as a potential candidate and called for an interview. All this to say, shoot your shot, hard and with confidence, and don’t worry if you don’t get an email back, just try again and eventually something will come your way. I recommend applying for as many internships as possible on the careers page of multiple different companies.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to me at jack.swanson@emory.edu.

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Estée Lauder Internship

Personal Care/Cosmetics Industry

Hello! My name is Emma Giarracco and this summer I had the opportunity to serve as an anhydrous chemistry intern on the Tom Ford Team of makeup formulation at Estée Lauder. My project focused on lipstick formulation, and I developed and created new lipstick formulas for the Tom Ford brand. I focused on the interactions between mineral oil hydrocarbon waxes that provide structure and long-term stability to the final product.

I created this page to answer some questions about the Estée Lauder internship opportunity and how to apply.

If you have any more questions feel free to email me at emma.giarracco@emory.edu

As an Estée Lauder Intern, you have the opportunity to learn from a variety of research laboratories including: Skin Physiology/Pharmacology, Process Development, Skincare, Makeup formulation, Supply Chain.

  • Skin Physiology/Pharmacology
  • Process Development
  • Skincare
  • Makeup formulation
  • Supply Chain

Each intern has a unique 12-week project that culminates in a poster presentation at the end of the internship. It provides the opportunity to share your work in a formal setting as well as connect with leaders throughout the company.

Throughout the program, Senior Vice Presidents from all across corporate Estée Lauder give “lunch and learn” presentations to share their experiences and mentor the intern cohort.

Housing is provided and included with the internship program in addition to a $27/hour salary.

Application:

https://jobs.elcompanies.com/research-development/jobs/209792?lang=en-us&originurl=https://www.elcompanies.com&_ga=2.73702866.1718662778.1602463106-1565613701.1602463106

Recruiter information: Stacey Peterson–speterso@estee.com

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All about Interviews

Nailing the Interview

Interviewing well is key for getting into labs, connecting with recruiters, and landing an exciting opportunity. Use the resources below to learn how to best present yourself and improve your skills. The following resources were adapted from the Emory Career Center. http://www.career.emory.edu/preparation/interviews.html

Types of Interviews:

General

Usually, these kind of interviews begin with a “Tell me about yourself” prompt. The goal of these kinds of interviews is to learn more about your personality, experiences, as well as your goals and aspirations for the future.

Before these types of interviews practice a candid yet professional elevator speech about who you are and what you are looking for. Use the link below for a list of potential interview questions.

http://www.career.emory.edu/_includes/documents/General-Behavioral-Interview-Questions.pdf

Before an interview, call a friend or family member to ask you potential interview questions! If they are unsure what to ask you can provide them with any of the sample questions provided below.

Behavioral Based

These interviews focus on your role in specific situations and how you navigated challenging circumstances. Come prepared with a few stories that show your ability to think on your feet, persist and create novel solutions.

Example questions:

  • Talk about a time when you had to work closely with someone whose personality was very different from yours.
  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  • We all make mistakes we wish we could take back. Tell me about a time you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
  • Tell me about a time you were under a lot of pressure. What was going on, and how did you get through it?
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from a difficult or awkward situation.
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Describe a long-term project that you managed. How did you keep everything moving along in a timely manner?
  • Sometimes it’s just not possible to get everything on your to-do list done. Tell me about a time your responsibilities got a little overwhelming. What did you do?
  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to rely on written communication to get your ideas across to your team.

Research-Based

Especially for STEM interviews, this can be the most important kind of interview. The interviewer is looking for a technical understanding of your field, as well as a description of your specific role in the success of the project.

Example questions:

  • Tell me about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
  • Describe a time when you were the resident technical expert. What did you do to make sure everyone was able to understand you?
  • Describe a challenge you encountered in your research project and describe how you worked through it?
  • How did you overcome an unexpected obstacle?
  • Describe a time when you saw some problem and took the initiative to correct it rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  • Give me an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
  • Tell me about a time you were dissatisfied in your work. What could have been done to make it better?

General Tips:

Research the company and role of the job you are seeking. Understand the job description and echo the characteristics listed through your own experiences. Show, don’t tell. Look at the organizations’ mission, values, demographics, and organizational philosophy, as well as what department you will be working in.

Use the Emory Career Center website to make an appointment with a Career Counselor for help finding your voice and telling your story in an interview.

Check list/flow chart:

Interview preparation checklist:

  1. Polish and update resume. Include keywords and adjust experiences to fit the job description
  2. Create and practice a “Tell me about yourself” elevator speech introduction
  3. Ask friends or family for a practice interview. Ask for feedback!
  4. Dress professionally and appropriately. If the interview is virtual, make sure your background is neat and the lighting is flattering. Have a glass of water and pen and paper available.
  5. Be yourself! Smile, relax and be confident!

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Resume Resources

Resume Writing

Writing a cohesive, professionally formatted and well-done resume can be challenging! Emory has lots of resources to help.

Start by using a template: https://community.bus.emory.edu/program/PreBBA/Shared%20Documents/BBA%20Resume%20Template%20for%20Fall%202017%20%20Spring%202018.docx

For competitive applications, resumes are sent through a word processing program and improper formatting will result in an automatic rejection. Using the Emory BBA template is easy and already done correctly!

Once you have your resume properly formatted, make an appointment or submit your resume online to be workshopped at the Emory Career center.

http://www.career.emory.edu/preparation/documents.html

Good resumes…
  • Are tailored to the job and emphasize the most relevant parts of your background
  • Do not include everything you have ever done
  • Include #s, %s and $s when possible (quantify your accomplishments!)
  • Use an easy to read font
  • Prioritize bullets by relevance
Experience Section:

This section may include:

  • Paid or unpaid internships and work-study positions
  • Part-time or full-time employment
  • Independent study
  • Research
  • Volunteering
  • Extracurriculars (Greek organizations, Professional societies, clubs)

Tailoring your resume is the most important part of the application process as sending the same version of your resume to every position you’re applying for does not work if the roles you are seeking are very different from each other. Tailoring is a result of how your experiences are grouped and how you describe the experiences in relation to your reader’s key needs.

Resume bullets should answer the following questions: (1) What did you do? (2) How did you do it? (3) Why did you do it and what was the outcome?. Whenever possible use action verbs to describe outcomes and quantify results using numbers.

Words that demonstrate the quality of your work and its impact:

  • Effectively
  • Efficiently
  • Excellent
  • Increased
  • Reduced
  • Improved
  • Streamlined
  • Transformed
  • Overhauled
  • Eliminated
Activity Section:

This section of the resume highlights campus and community involvement or leadership roles. Activities include student clubs, volunteering, greek life, athletics, and honor societies. First and second-year students may include high school activities, but juniors and students should keep to collegiate experiences.

Skill Section

This section is often included to help employers easily pinpoint areas of expertise. This section can include software skills, foreign language, laboratory skills (spectrophotometry, PCR and Gel Electrophoresis for example), multimedia skills (Adobe Premiere, FinalCut Pro), and social media skills. This section can also include interests that can be facilitate small talk at the beginning of an interview or creating a personal connection

Action Verbs to Use:
Top 10 Attributes Employers Seek on a Candidates Resume
  1. Written communication skills
  2. Problem-solving skills
  3. Ability to work in a team
  4. Initiative
  5. Analytical/quantitative skills
  6. Strong work ethic
  7. Verbal communication skills
  8. Leadership
  9. Detail-oriented
  10. Technical skills

Example resume:

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REU, Internships, Shadowing and Studying Abroad: What is the difference?

REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates):

REUs are federally funded research experiences lead by the NSF (National Science Foundation). They usually provide a small stipend and housing funds. International students are not traditionally eligible for REUs because of federal funding citizenship requirements though some schools have funding specifically for international students. REUs are both competitive and prestigious and are often used as recruiting opportunities for graduate programs.

Most REUs are targeted to rising juniors and seniors though there are a few opportunities for rising sophomores.

Application Requirements:

REU applications require two-three letters of recommendation as well as a statement of interest. Other application questions include relevant experiences, future career plans, or any attributes that may distinguish you from other applicants. A resume and transcript upload are also required. Applications open as early as December 1 and most deadlines will be in February or early March. A competitive applicant will begin preparation in the fall. The link below lists all REU programs and contains links each one’s website for more information.

More information: https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.jsp?unitid=5048

Internships:

Many chemistry internships are available in research and development in industry. These opportunities are best found by going to the careers section of a specific company and applying online. Handshake and LinkedIn are also useful for connecting with alumni to better understand an industry or discovering more internship opportunities.

Shadowing:

Emory Career Center offers career discovery days that are advertised via an email blast at the beginning of each semester. Career discovery days offer the opportunity to shadow a professional in a wide variety of fields. The pre-health advising office also offers the opportunity to connect with healthcare professionals in the Atlanta area.

Studying Abroad:

The Emory Chemistry Department offers a unique summer study abroad experience for 6 weeks in Siena, Italy. The program focuses on the application of chemistry to art, the food and wine industry, and architecture — both in and out of the laboratory and classroom. The program also offers the opportunity to travel around Tuscany, seeing historic cities such as San Gimignano and Florence while also studying at the historic University of Siena (one of the oldest universities in Italy, founded in 1240). From visiting art museums to learning about the chemistry of paints in the process of art restoration, the program offers an immersive cultural experience and a new perspective on chemistry.

Academics: Program participants take 3 Chemistry courses for a total of 8 credit hours.

CHEM 370: Biophysical Chemistry (3 credit hours) (James Kindt)
(or if CHEM 370 is complete, CHEM 497R: Supervised Reading)
Biophysical Chemistry will focus on the structure and function of macromolecules in biological contexts. The main themes will be thermodynamic and kinetic stability of proteins and DNA, the creation and use of transmembrane gradients in electrical and chemical potential through transmembrane channels and pumps, and the transformation of chemical energy into mechanical work by molecular motors.

CHEM 468W: Perspectives in Chemistry (4 credit hours) (Michael McCormick & Vince Conticello)
Perspectives in Chemistry will cover topics that connect chemistry to the important aspect of our location in Italy. Our study of the restoration and conservation of art and the production and preservation of food and beverages directly connect chemistry to the history, culture, and economy of Tuscany. Other examples include study of metal production by Etruscans, dyes and pigments in art, and current research into nutraceuticals. Biochemical examples will be a prominent theme in the course.

CHEM 475: Chemistry Seminar (1 credit hour) (all faculty)
This course will discuss emerging topics in modern chemical research at the University of Siena.

Financial Aid and Scholarships are available:

The Office of International and Summer Programs (OISP) has study abroad advisors who can connect students with the financial aid office to look into financial aid options. In addition, any student in the college of arts and sciences that takes the Liberal Arts Edge class is eligible to apply for the Emory Edge stipend, a study abroad or summer internship scholarship that ranges from $1000 to $6000.

2021 Update: The Office of International and Summer Programs (OISP) in conjunction with Emory College leadership has made the difficult decision to cancel all Summer 2021 faculty-led Study Abroad Programs.
 

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Getting Started

This resource was created to help Chemistry students at Emory University find opportunities that prepare them for careers after graduation. All opportunities have different advantages for graduate school, industry, or research positions in the future. This website is not all-inclusive but rather a starting place.

While students can pursue professional development opportunities at any time and in any order they would like to, you will often reap the most benefits for your time and effort by being intentional with the steps you take and when you choose to take them. Below is a suggested timeline you could work from to help you manage your professional development goals. You can read tips for each of the steps listed below on the other pages of this website.

First year, Fall semester: Set up a Handshake and LinkedIn profile. Familiarize yourself with those tools. Explore the Career Center website.

First year, Spring semester: Put together your resume. Schedule an appointment at the Career Center to have someone look over your resume and give you tips. Attend events and use resources available at the Career Center. Keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profile up to date.

First year, Summer: Explore opportunities by visiting websites (companies or REUs) and keeping notes. A little bit of time investment over the summer will help everything run a little smoother and more efficiently next school year!

Second year, Fall semester: Explore internship opportunities by visiting companies’ websites, talking with older students, and meeting with a Career Center advisor. Or, if you’re considering doing an REU instead of an internship, visit REU websites, talk with older students and faculty members. Think about who might be able to write you a letter of recommendation. Once you know where you’ll be applying, ask your letter writers early so they are not writing under a time crunch. Polish your resume. Note deadlines for the internships and/or REUs you’re planning to apply for. Keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles up to date.

Second year, Spring semester: Apply to internship and/or REU programs. Prepare for interviews early in the semester. Keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles up to date.

Second year, Summer: If you got an REU or internship, congratulations! Represent yourself well and take full advantage of your opportunity! If you didn’t, politely ask your contacts what you could next year to make your application stronger, and decide the best way to spend your summer to set yourself up for success next academic year!

Third and Fourth Years: Continue to network. Send thank you emails to anyone you interviewed, interned, or researched with. Explore a second REU or internship. Be confident and continue to put yourself out there! (…and keep your Handshake and LinkedIn profiles up to date.)

Email all additional questions or suggestions to kwalsh6@emory.edu

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Handshake and LinkedIn for STEM Students

The value of networking:

Networking is beneficial for two main reasons: it allows you to find and connect with people whose career paths inspire you and inform you about opportunities available, it also allows you to build relationships that yield valuable advice and potential job referrals. Oftentimes, networking is seriously underutilized by students interested in STEM because of the traditional personalities research attracts. Going the extra mile to make a connection can help differentate you and an equally qualified and intelligent candidate to land a position you are especially excited about.

LinkedIn: Building a Great Student Profile

Write an informative profile headline

The headline of your profile shoudl be short, memorable and professional. An example might be “Honors student seeking research position.” If you are unsure what to write, check out the profiles of your peers in the same areas as you or recent alumni.

Pick an appropriate photo

A high quality photo is required for LinkedIn. The photo does not have to be professionally taken, but it should be a nice headshot. Emory offers headshots at the career fair each fall. A photo can also be taken by a friend with a clean background and a nice shirt.

Show off your education

Include all your schools, majors/minors, study abroad programs or certificates. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with alumni of shared institutions. Be proud of who you are! LinkedIn is an appropriate platform to list honors, GPA, and/or test scores.

Develop a professional summary

A professional summary is a small personal statement similar to the first few paragraphs of a good cover letter. Present your interests, qualifications and professional aspirations and support them with relevant work and extracurriculars.

Fill Skills & Expertise with keywords

These keywords shoudl match the ones in the job listings of positions you are interested in. See the resume section of this website for examples of good key words, or look at the profiles of people who have the kinds of roles you want.

Update your status regularly

This is helpful to build your professional image. Mention projects, articles you find interesting or events your attending to create your digital brand. Recruiters and potential interviewers often read your feed.

Show your connectedness

Join industry and university groups. Emory chemistry has a LinkedIn group that is great for connecting with alumni.

Collect diverse recommendations

Strong profiles are built through having at least one recommendation for each position a person has help. It is most impressive if these recommendations come from people who have directly managed you.

Claim your unique LinkedIn URL

Set your LinkedIn to public and create a unique URL that you can list at the bottom of your resume. Mine is www.linkedin.com/in/emmagiarracco for example.

Share you work

Upload projects you are proud of completing! As long as it is ok with your research mentor, share your poster presentation or post links to any publications.

Handshake:

Handshake is an Emory specific career website that allows you to find internships, work-study positions, research opportunities and find out about events that may be interesting to you. Many different companies will hold info sessions for upcoming internships that allow you to connect with the recruiter in a smaller context and learn about the program and what kind of applicants they are looking for. Handshake also allows you to create a profile-using the same suggestions as above-where recruiters can directly message you. The career fair is advertised every year on Handshake and sends reminders so you don’t miss out on important opportunities to land an exciting summer experience.

Connecting with recruiters:

Connecting with recruiters is best acheived through authentic, customized and concise communication. Be professional and thoughoutful in the way you reach out. When you message someone, remind him/her/them where you met or expalin why you want to connect. In the message, focus on highlighting the things you have in common or specific aspects of his/her/their experience you want to discuss. Always proofread your message before sending it and keep it short and sweet. After you have connected with someone, learned from them or received mentorship always remember to say thank you!