The event was designed to help graduate students develop both professionally and personally. Therefore, CFF is meant to be a low-stress environment where graduate students improve their communication skills (including talking about science and asking questions), practice networking, broaden their scientific knowledge, and strengthen the camaraderie within the department. Honing science and professional skills during graduate school is crucial to producing well-rounded chemists who will thrive in the scientific world of tomorrow.
We have had a mix of topics so far. Some weeks student speakers share their current research or present on a topic of interest in the field of chemistry. Other times, outside speakers discuss their experiences related to job searching or other aspects of professional development.
There is a tentative calendar that I email to students on a month-to-month basis. The schedule is sent with this relatively short-term notice to maximize flexibility and our use of time with respect to who is presenting and what is being presented. For the remainder of this semester, we have an exciting slate of both students and alumni coming to visit and present.
So far, the turnout has been outstanding and students have been actively participating. It is not easy to have people commit to a weekly event, but my fellow students have shown interest in the event. The potential for what CFF can become is exciting. Because this is a new program in our department, I look forward to receiving feedback from my colleagues to guide the program into the future.