What do chemists do and what can chemistry do for me? 

Everyone tells you that STEM education is important and that being a scientist, engineer or doctor is an excellent career path.  Most people know Engineers build stuff and doctors heal people but what do scientists (specifically chemists) do?  We’ll use each session to carry out fun hands on experiments that show different career paths open to chemists or other basic science majors.

This course will take a deep dive into what fields and functional areas rely on chemists:

  • Pharmaceuticals: Aspirin synthesis
    • Chemists do drug synthesis
  • Natural products and pigments: Ultramarine- making one of the most expensive paints
    • Chemists make all of your favorite colors
  • Metallurgy: The golden penny experiment
    • Chemists use metals for all sorts of things
  • Innovative materials: Superconductor synthesis and things that glow
    • Chemists developed all of your LEDs and OLED screens.
  • Cosmetics: The chemistry of scents
    • Chemists were involved if it smelled good or was a pretty color. Chemists also make lots of things that look like mud and smell bad.
  • Food: Molecular gastronomy and artificial flavors in food
    • Chemists had something to do with all those ingredients on a food package that you can’t pronounce.

All safety equipment necessary for being in our state-of-the-art teaching laboratories (gloves, goggles and lab coats) will be provided.  Due to chemistry laboratory safety regulations, students will be required to wear long pants and closed toed shoes during the entire chemistry course (the chemistry building is air conditioned).


  • Clyde Cady, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the University of Connecticut's Chemistry Department. Dr. Cady received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota where he was introduced to bioinorganic chemistry, the chemistry of the elements as pertaining to life events. He moved to Connecticut for his Ph.D. at Yale University where he studied photosynthesis. After postdoctoral studies at Uppsala University, Sweden, and Rutgers University he started teaching general and inorganic chemistry at UConn. His special interests are directed toward introducing pre-college students to the thrills of experimental chemistry.
  • J. Dafhne Aguirre, PhD, Assistant Professor in Residence in the University of Connecticut's Chemistry Department. Dr. Aguirre received her undergraduate degree from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. She did a pre-doctoral research at the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich, Germany. She studied the anticancer properties of rhodium complexes during her Ph.D. studies at Texas A&M University. Before moving to UConn, she completed her postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University. She is particularly interested in increasing the participation of underrepresented populations, particularly those of women, in STEM fields

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At a Glance:

Sessions Offered:

  • Session 1: June 28th - July 4th

Location: UConn Storrs Campus

Supplemental Lab Fee: $40.00

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