Chemical Sciences Student Seminar

CSSS Committee: Joshua Straub, Jamie Shaum, Aneta Jelowicki, Claire Tran, Kendrick Nguyen, Maša Podunavac, Evan Janzen


Our mission is to consistently provide a highly-interdisciplinary, well-attended, student-run venue for advanced graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to communicate their excellent chemical science research in partnership with sponsoring institutions.

The 7th annual Chemical Sciences Student Seminar (CS3) series ran from October through December of 2017, supporting 8 seminars with 10 graduate student speakers and 6 postdoc speakers, with great success!

We are deeply committed to fostering diversity in STEM disciplines, especially gender diversity. We are proud to announce that 44% of our 2016 speakers were female: a new CS3 record!

CS3 will continue to hold weekly chemical science general audience seminars on Mondays at noon in Winter and Spring quarter 2019. The seminar includes a sponsorship presentation followed by two 15-minute research talks per week. Sign up and give a talk for a chance to be awarded a scholarship or $500 travel grant- or even spark a collaboration!

To learn more about sponsoring a series or being a speaker, contact Erin Morgan at

2019 Schedule coming soon!

Travel Grant Award

In order to incentivize abstract submissions and reward excellent talks, CS3 awards travel grants to the best speakers. This past year, the generous support of the International Center for Materials Research allowed us to award 3 travel grants for the best graduate student talks, and the Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships sponsored an additional 2 awards for the best postdoc presentation. 

Congratulations to our 2017 winners: Julija Vinckeviciute, Anriudha Banerjee, Veronica Laos, Ranajay Saha, and Athina Anastaski.

Best Scientific Presentation Award

Students presenting from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have an opportunity to be awarded with the Best Scientific Presentation Award. This award was created in 2013 to honor students who effectively gave general research presentations during the Chemical Sciences Student Seminar.

Eligibility of this award require the student to be in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, hold graduate standing at the time of voting, and present during the Seminar Series. All of the eligible students are then voted upon at the conclusion of the Seminar Series by their Graduate peers, faculty, and staff members. Voters are encouraged to think of who best presented their research to a general audience for broad understanding. This award is presented during the Spring Graduate Student Symposium.

Scientific Communication Award Recipients:
Year Recipient Presentation Title
2013 Zachary Henson Towards environmentally friendly processing of organic semiconductors
2013 Peter Burks

Quantum dots as sensitizers for photochemical drug delivery

2013 Robert Levenson

The Bacterial Flagellar Motor: Understanding an amazing Nanomachine

The Founding of CS3

The Chemical Sciences Student Seminar (CS3) was founded by Dr. Peter T. Burks in 2011 and officially launched in January of 2012.

Peter received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry under the supervision of Peter C. Ford in 2013. His research efforts focused on harnessing the properties of nanomaterials to design new light-activated drug delivery platforms. Outside of research, Peter led several science outreach programs and completed a certificate in entrepreneurship. In late 2011, he noticed a communication disconnect between graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. This inspired him to found a new type of seminar series that focused intently on quality communication and presentation of research. An unquestionable result of Peter's drive and initiative, the Chemical Sciences Student Seminar was therefore created. Peter designed the seminar format, recruited talented speakers, and raised the necessary funds to enable the first edition of the CS3 to take place in January 2012. By the second edition in fall 2012, the CS3 was one of the highest regularly attended student seminars on campus. This early success enabled Peter to recruit talented graduate student volunteers to take over leadership upon his graduation and to continue to grow the success of CS3. As a result CS3 has established longevity and status as a highlight and point of pride for the department. The current members of the CS3 Executive Committee continue to uphold Peter's original vision for the series: quality communication and presentation of research.

Photo: Dr. Peter Burks (right) with Department Chair Dr. Rick Dahlquist at the launch of CS3, January 19, 2012