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ACS News

ACS LATAM+C student chapter advisors hold first retreat

by Sara Cottle
December 16, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 41

A group of smiling people poses for a picture in an area overlooking a courtyard.
Credit: Courtesy of Santiago Sandi-Urena

From left: Carol Guzman (University of San Carlos of Guatemala [USAC]), Betty Galarreta (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru), Gabriel Monzón (USAC), Isaac Céspedes (Costa Rica Institute of Technology), Rodrigo Rodriguez (National Pedagogical University, Colombia ), Maria Conceição de Oliveira (Federal University of Ceará), José Rodriguez (National University of Costa Rica), Santiago Sandi-Urena (Pomona College, CA/UCR, Costa Rica), Maricruz Alvarez (University of Valle), Virginia Ortíz (School of Medicine, USAC), and Lucrecia de Haase (USAC).

The American Chemical Society International Student Chapters of Costa Rica and Guatemala organized the first-ever retreat for ACS faculty advisers in Central and South America. It took place in Guatemala at the end of October.

Funded by a 2023 Global Innovation Grant, the event featured a number of ACS governance members and recognizable member-volunteers, including Ingrid Montes of the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras; Edgar A. Arriaga of the University of Minnesota; local experts Maricruz Alvarez of the University of Valle and Virginia Ortiz of USAC; and Utica University’s Michelle Boucher, chair of the ACS Undergraduate Student Advisory Board.

Advisers are fundamental to a chapter’s success and continuity. The experience can be exciting and rewarding—as well as challenging and demanding. Advising models in Latin America and the Caribbean (LATAM+C) vary from those in the US in terms of functions, expectations, and strategies. These differences can create a gap in support for LATAM+C advisers. The retreat helped facilitate a peer-to-peer support network based on reciprocal mentoring for current and future LATAM+C advisers. Attendees had a chance to share challenges, experiences, and successful strategies.

There are 22 international student chapters in eight countries across LATAM+C. These chapters have helped students gain funding, presentation skills, and networking opportunities at ACS spring and fall meetings, as well as develop other nontechnical expertise through services and outreach.


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