ACS UTM Stepping Up to Enhance Student’s Views on Chemistry Outlook Post-Pandemic 

Prepared by: Areshma Jaiyashri a/p Parana Chandran (Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia)

The American Chemical Society Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (ACS UTM) International Student Chapter successfully hosted a Post Pandemic ChemY program via Zoom on 2nd April 2022. The program was officiated by the Advisor for the ACS UTM International Student Chapter, Assoc. Prof. ChM. Dr. Mohd Bakri Bakar.

This program aimed to provide students with an opportunity to connect and discuss with the invited speakers from diverse fields of chemistry and with various backgrounds. It also provided students with a unique opportunity to broaden their knowledge post-pandemic, pursue professional paths and further studies in chemical science and engineering in Malaysia or Indonesia.

This program brought together chemistry-related undergraduates and graduates from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Indonesia.

Post Pandemic ChemY was divided into two sessions, each featuring two presenters. A UTM alumni with a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry), Ms. Gan Yi Yun was the first invited speaker while an undergraduate student representative from ITB, Mr. Syifabudi Chairurrizky was the second speaker for the session one.

In the second session, Head of Undergraduate Chemistry Program from ITB, Dr. Anita Alni, was the first invited speaker, followed by a production chemist and UTM alumni, ChM. Widyaratih Hafizah Mechor.

The program’s objectives have been met by providing participants with early career opportunities, allowing them to make a comparison of real-life situations and keeping up with the newest chemistry advances in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Besides contemporaries’ issues of studying and working during the pandemic were also discussed, the participants also learned about the new skills that employers look for when hiring fresh graduates in the post-pandemic era.

During the first session, the speakers briefly explained their educational background and what inspired them toward chemistry.

Mr. Syifabudi and Ms. Gan Yi Yun shared the difficulties they have encountered along the way in completing their final year project, especially during the pandemic, and generously shared their working experiences as interns. They even provided some tips to adapt to the working environment easily.

The speakers ended the session by giving a piece of advice to the participants.

In session two, Dr. Anita Alni described her reasons for being a researcher and her path in getting a doctorate in a field of chemistry after her undergraduate studies. She also actively shared many research-related topics, such as the characteristics of a good research paper, the challenges experienced by researchers during pandemics, and how to overcome them.

ChM. Widyaratih Hafizah Mechor, on the other hand, shared a wealth of useful knowledge regarding industrial life, including the most recent development at her workplace. She has spoken about the huge challenges she’s had in the industrial field as a result of the pandemic.

This could provide participants with a clearer understanding of what hurdles they might face at work and how to overcome them.

Overall, the speakers have made the sharing sessions very interactive with their valuable information.

The participation was overwhelming with up to 160 people attending from both inside and outside of UTM. Therefore, ACS UTM sincerely aspires to conduct more similar programs in future to help students in achieving their ambitions.

With that said, ACS UTM International Student Chapter will continue to strive for organizing chemistry-related programs and expose more about industries to students.