Chemistry - From Classroom to Career Junior Year
More Career Choices
How can you best use your remaining courses and free electives to both round out your education and prepare for a career? How about possible graduate school work in Chemistry, or scholarships like a Fulbright Fellowship, or Teach for America? Talk to your faculty advisor.
Talk to favorite professors about possible supervised research projects you might do in your area of interest, in the summer or during the school year. On-campus summer housing is available. Take advantage of the library for research, as recommended by the department.
Interested in a research area but there is no course offered in the catalog? Talk to a faculty member or department chair about a possible independent study.
Students can become Teaching Assistants in upper division labs. Talk to the Department Chair for details.
Chemistry has department awards for outstanding students every spring; they are honored at the College of Arts and Sciences award night in April. Attend the event and look for projects that might earn you this honor. With your faculty advisor, gain experience in entering such a competition and learn how to effectively package and present your work - and yourself. Non-seniors are often singled out for their great work.
Talk to your faculty advisor about the two internships for credit that are allowed at Fairfield. Remember that summer jobs, not for credit, can be just as useful in gaining experience and building a resume.
Life After Fairfield
With a broad educational background, our graduates can move in many directions, but their major gives them an orientation. A number have decided before graduation that they will enter medical or dental schools and others choose advanced study in chemistry. In the last few years, chemistry majors moving into medical or doctoral studies have won acceptances at such institutions as:
- Boston College
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of Pennsylvania
- University f Connecticut
Others have chosen:
- Secondary school education
- Environmental science
- Industry positions in research and development
- Sales and marketing
Look for three professors, in and out of the department, who can speak about your successes in an informed way.
BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education)
Advanced Chemistry students can work as camp counselors at BASE Camp. Which offers high school students an informative and fun week long experience with actual scientific research, across all scientific disciplines at Fairfield. Projects change every year, allowing students to choose from a variety of topics including biomedical science, medicinal chemistry, forensics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, marine ecology, software engineering, behavioral psychology, neuroscience, and biophysics, and applied mathematics.
Fairfield has a long history of success in preparing students with a solid foundation for the health professions. Since 1951, more than 2,000 Fairfield alumni have earned degrees in medicine and dentistry and are practicing throughout the world. More than 500 others have opted for other specialties within the allied health professions. Fairfield students have been accepted at almost every medical school in the country including Yale, Harvard, Duke and Cornell. Career Options in Health include Public Health, Toxicology, nutrition, and many others.
By your junior year, you finish up some of the required courses. It is strongly recommended that you take at least one English course by this time. Most entrance exams including the MCAT have a verbal section. Scientific thinkers often do poorly on these sections. Therefore it is wise to balance your skills by taking humanities courses which will force you to do critical reading and lots of essay writing. Philosophy, Religion, English and History are good examples.
Most students (excluding pre-meds) take their pre-professional admissions exams at the end of their junior year. Since these exams test your understanding of basic Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics, it is imperative that you have completed your required courses by this time. The MCAT is given several times throughout the year, but it is recommended that you take it in late spring/early summer so that your application can be complete by June. Remember to request a letter of recommendation from the Health Professions Committee. The deadline for applications is April 1. The committee interviews each candidate, reviews their academic performance and votes whether or not to recommend that student. Students whose performance is not up to Fairfield's standards may not be recommended. If this happens, you may support your application with three letters from individual professors in lieu of a committee letter.
Note: the summer between Junior and Senior Years is usually a busy time. Now is the best time to fill out applications. This is more complicated than it sounds (will take you hours!) so allow plenty of time. Nearly all health professions schools have rolling admissions so it is to your advantage to get your applications in as soon as possible. However, it is most common for pre-medical students specifically to apply after senior year. Students who were not ready in the spring or who did poorly on spring entrance exams may elect to take them in the summer.
Attend the annual Sigma Xi poster session, held in Bannow every spring. Post your own work, or see the work of other Chemistry majors. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, was founded in 1886 as an honor society for scientists and engineers. Contact: Dr. Jim Biardi, advisor, (203) 254-4000 ext. 3465; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to Chemistry majors.