What is SMACS?
SMACS is an organization affiliated with the American Chemical Society which targets undergraduates who are interested in Chemistry. A significant contribution within the chemistry department goes beyond simply attending classes and teaching labs and SMACS is the organization which helps to truly connect students to their department. By bringing in professors to speak about their research, helping to perform outreach to both the department and community, and engaging students in a social setting outside of the classroom SMACS can really help to bring the undergraduate chemistry experience to life. Currently, SMACS has about 40 members.
The Structure of SMACS and What We Do
The first monthly meeting is our general meeting where we discuss important upcoming events, topics, and suggestions for further improving SMACS. The second monthly meeting is when we have a guest speaker come and present to our members. Typically the guest speakers are faculty members that take the time to talk about opportunities for student involvement within their research groups and/or about their research in general. Although most of our speakers are faculty members at UT, we are hoping to get speakers from outside companies starting this semester. Beyond this the group plans several social events throughout the year. These include the High School Mentoring Day, Dr. Hazari’s Magic Show, a trip to Oak Ridge National Laboratory and many other activities. One key component of general meetings is to organize and prepare for these events.
SMACS also plays an important role in outreach within UTK Chemistry. Whether through selling organic model kits to students, giving tours to prospective undergraduates, or via chemistry mentoring day (when local high school students interested in chemistry come to the department for a day), SMACS tries to make a difference both in the academic department and the community as a whole. In addition to annual projects SMACS occasionally undertakes larger goals, and is currently working towards finding ways to improve the display cases within the chemistry department and doing a fundraiser for a local foundation.
How to Become a Member
To be a member of SMACS there is a fee. That fee is $25 and this includes your food/club meetings and it includes a club T-shirt. Once you pay that fee you are technically a “member” of SMACS. This is one great step in becoming a successful member of SMACS. We highly encourage everyone to participate in everything that SMACS offers! This is so SMACS itself can get better but most importantly, you can get the most out of being a member of SMACS.
Interaction with chemistry faculty members outside of the classroom. These experiences can be invaluable when applying to graduate school, as generally professors can write stronger letters of recommendation for those who they know better.
Networking opportunity with others inside the Department. This can take the form of performing research for a professor, teaching a general chemistry class as a TA, or simply getting to know others interested in chemistry.
Elections are generally held in the Spring for the next academic year. Following nominations and statements by the candidates, voting will generally be carried out by secret ballot and then the votes will be tabulated to decide the victor. If there is only one nominee for a position then the voting will be carried out by verbal consensus.