CHEM 491-494: Department Seminar

Section 001, Course# 23431-23432-23433-23434; 0.0 Credit Hr. – Spring 2023


Time/Location: 11:00 - 12:00 R (Sims 105)

Professor: Dr. Maria C. Gelabert Artiles,

Office/Phone: 314A Sims Science Building/323-4939

Office Hours – M 12:30-1:30, W 9:30-10:30, R 4:30-5:30 (Zoom)

Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 301

Registration Calendar (important dates for registration, S/U, graduation, etc.)

Seminar Calendar


Seminars play a critical role in science, providing a venue for public dissemination of scientific methods, results and advances.  Seminars also provide "networking" opportunities through face-to-face contact.  A typical seminar usually involves an introduction of the speaker, a presentation by the speaker followed by a time for questions and discussion.  The department typically seeks speakers from other universities, industries and government agencies to provide students with a broad perspective of the chemistry enterprise.  You'll likely be attending scientific seminars throughout your career (and/or presenting your own), regardless of your chosen field.     

Course Goals   

The goal of the seminar program is to give students opportunities to interact with scientists and researchers outside (sometimes within) the university.  In some respects, chemistry has a "culture" of its own.   Seminars often provide chemistry students a sense of this culture.  These interactions can lead students to consider careers not previously contemplated.  Sometimes, speakers set aside time after the seminar to meet with and talk to students in a smaller group or individual setting.  And sometimes, a student might learn about a summer or job opportunity...internship, fellowship, cooperative experience, post-graduate opportunity, etc.     

University Competencies

Winthrop University's faculty adopted a set of four University Level Competencies (ULCs) that describe the qualities our students develop during their Winthrop career.  It is easy to see that the seminar topics involve solving problems and developing written/oral communication skills.  However, you will also learn the responsibilities of chemists to the greater good of our planet and society, as well as the global nature of chemistry.  Within the discussions of the seminars, I think you will find this course fits well with all four competencies.      

Competency 1: Winthrop graduates think critically and solve problems. This course asks you to take in relevant information from multiple viewpoints. The variety of seminars allow you to see broad context, examining how others think through and critically solve problems. 

Competency 2: Winthrop graduates are personally and socially responsible. In this course, you will learn about the perspectives of others, and reflect on your experience and learning process, giving you a greater sense of inclusion within the chemistry community, as well as broader scientific community. 

Competency 3: Winthrop graduates understand the interconnected nature of the world and the time in which they live. In this course, you’ll better understand context of discipline, and come to recognize your own potential career path in connection to other fields. You are engaging with your peers and other members of diverse academic, professional, and cultural communities as informed, active citizens.   

Competency 4: Winthrop graduates communicate effectively. This course asks you to communicate in written and online form, to interact with others and to practice writing organized synopses for the formal assignments.

Student Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, you will:

·    Have an understanding of how scientific seminars are presented.

·    Understand the role of the seminar in disseminating scientific information.

·    Have a broader understanding of oral presentation methods and skills.

·    Develop a sense of the culture of the chemistry enterprise and its role in society and our world.

·    Develop a wide appreciation of the topics that connect to chemistry.


Seminar is required for all chemistry degree programs. For satisfactory completion of the course:

·    Attend ALL scheduled seminars for the entire time. (The point is to attend...)

·    Submit a brief summary of each seminar to Blackboard within one week, focused on the points below. Assignments may be in prose or bullet form: clear, detailed and well-written.

→  Summarize the talk content

→  In a few sentences, describe something from the talk that was new and/or especially interesting to you

→  Describe something from the talk that is especially relevant to your career

During the seminars, it's highly recommended that you be fully present and interact with our speaker by asking questions.

Letter grades  

The course is graded S/U. 


You are expected to attend each class meeting for the full scheduled time. The seminar program is often key for development of future career opportunities. Put all seminar dates in your calendar early in the term.

Makeup Policy  

If you must miss a seminar due to illness, you should contact me no later than 24 hours after with documentation. For any conflicting University-related events, you should contact me in advance. Any makeup seminars are sought by you and must be approved by me. They must be talks of 30 minutes or more and related to science.

Communication Expectations

Please contact me by email or drop by my office (Sims 314A) with any questions. Throughout the semester, I will write the class with the listserve and/or Blackboard announcement. If you're not yet on the listserve, subscribe by following the instructions here.

COVID-19 Statement

The health and safety of the campus community is Winthrop’s top priority. As socially responsible members of this community, everyone is expected to engage in daily health self-monitoring and to stay home (residence hall or off-campus housing) from on-campus class, work, or activities if they begin experiencing any COVID-related symptoms.  Please do not attend class if you have a fever or any signs of the COVID virus, do not attend class if your roommate or someone you have close contact with acquires the virus, and be respectful of others’ desire to remain COVID-free. Masking on campus remains optional but strongly encouraged, especially in indoor settings around others. Use the Patient Portal COVID-19 form to report illness or exposure and upload the positive test, if relevant.  Students who violate WU guidelines will be asked to comply.  Continued failure to comply may result in referral to the Dean of Students Office as a student conduct violation.

COVID-Related Absence

Students should contact Health Services regarding a positive test, close contact, or enhanced COVID-like symptoms. Any student who has either tested positive, has COVID-like symptoms, or has close contact with someone who has COVID, must contact Health Services. Students should log in to the Patient Portal to complete a C19 form and upload the positive test, if relevant.  Health Services will communicate with the student on what steps to take next, and if need be, the Dean of Students Office will receive absence verification for required isolation and quarantine.  Students who verify their absences through the Dean of Students Office often minimize any academic impact caused by missed class time. Students retain a responsibility to communicate with instructors regarding missed work, and complete assignments in a timely manner as they are able.  Regular communication with faculty is expected so that student progress in the course is not negatively impacted. Health Services will only provide dates of absence, not medical information. Please note, residential students who test positive must follow their personal COVID Quarantine and Isolation Plan. In person classes generally will not have a remote option; students should not expect to have remote access to the class lecture or discussion, even in the case of absence.

Student Conduct Code

As noted in the Student Conduct Code: ''Responsibility for good conduct rests with students as adult individuals.'' The policy on student academic misconduct is outlined in Section V of the Student Conduct Code in the online Student Handbook

Students with Disabilities/Need of Accommodations for Access

Winthrop University is dedicated to providing access to education. If you have a disability and require specific accommodations to complete this course, contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 803-323-3290 or, Once you have your official notice of accommodations from the Office of Disability Services, please inform me as early as possible in the semester.

Syllabus Changes 

I reserve the right to update and edit this syllabus as necessary, including assignments, seminars added/rescheduled, and policies. You will be notified immediately of any such changes.


Seminar Calendar

11:00 AM in Sims 105

Spring 2023

(updated 1/5/2023)





January 12 

Introduction (11-11:30) 

January 19 

Bethany Acampora, Ph.D., Joey Thames, M.S., Michael Schreuder, Ph.D., Poly-Med 

Careers at Poly-Med 

January 26 

Sophya Garashchuk, Ph.D., Professor, U of SC - Columbia 

Nuclear Quantum Effects in Molecular Dynamics: Theory and Applications 

February 2 


February 16-March 30 

(Date TBA) Darius Ollison (Winthrop alum), Materials Development Engineer, Michelin 

February 16 


February 23 


March 2 


March 9 


March 23-April 20 

(Date TBA) Faculty Research/Career  

March 30 


April 6 


April 13 


April 20