York hosts largest conference in Ontario for undergrad researchers in chemistry

York University’s Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science hosted the 45th Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference (SOUSCC) on March 18, which saw the largest turnout yet.

The event featured more than 135 speakers and almost 200 participants, including students from York University; and, for the first time in its history, the conference was also open to students from institutions beyond southern Ontario.

Budding chemists at the conference had an opportunity to present and discuss their research, interact with professors and peers, and gain insight into the research side of academics. The event featured 11 parallel sessions in analytical, biomedical, organic, inorganic and physical chemistry, and the presentations were judged, with 20 students going home with cash prizes.

Derek Wilson

“The judges were unanimous in their amazement at what some of the young talent had achieved, and at the level of research being carried out in general,” said Derek Wilson, chemistry professor at York and leading organizer of SOUSCC.

York graduate and entrepreneur Voislav Blagojevic gave a rousing keynote talk about entrepreneurship after training in chemistry. The event closed with a reception at the Underground Restaurant at York U and a presentation by the Canadian Society for Chemistry about non-traditional careers in chemistry and the various services that the society provides.

“The event was an unqualified success thanks to the enormous efforts of an intrepid administrative team led by Nicole Chevannes-Mcgregor, a panel of 24 judges led by Cristina Lento and a dedicated group of undergraduate organizers from the CHEM CLUB,” said Wilson.

The conference was sponsored by York University’s Office of the Vice-Provost Students, Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation and Department of Chemistry, as well as external sponsors including Sciex, the Canadian Institute for Chemistry, Canada Science Publishing, which produces the Canadian Journal of Chemistry, and the Canadian Association of Theoretical Chemists.

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