The end of the 2016 spring term saw student chemistry conferences taking place across Canada, showcasing the ingenuity and drive of these future chemists.

This past March, technology students in Western Canada were invited to participate in the 14th Western Chemical Technology Symposium at Calgary’s Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). Participating students competed in poster and oral competitions, were treated to a tour of the SAIT chemical laboratory facilities and received valuable advice from keynote speaker Tony Ciarla, vice-president­ of KLS Earthworks and Environmental, on potential career paths in chemical technology. All student participants received a Canadian Society for Chemical Technology (CSCT) membership. 

Trent University in Peterborough hosted about 60 undergraduate students and professors at the 44th Southern Ontario Undergraduate Student Chemistry Conference this past April. The day featured several concurrent technical sessions, a poster competition and an awards banquet that wound down with some spontaneous karaoke.

In early May, students from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia gathered at Winnipeg’s University of Manitoba for the 30th Western Canadian Undergraduate Chemistry Conference (WCUCC). Plenary lectures encompassed a wide range of topics, from the bioaccumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls in aquatic life to the organic chemistry of interstellar space. Social events featured a dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, near the Forks National Historic Site, an awards banquet and a closing karaoke mixer, during which students, guest speakers and professors tested their knowledge of the karaoke classics. WCUCC 2017 will take place at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Following close on the heels of WCUCC was the graduate student run Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) Symposium: Innovations in Chemistry Towards Sustainable Urban Living, held in May in Toronto. Ninety students from coast to coast came together for a crash course in green chemistry and to hear lecturers from Xerox Research Centre of Canada, BASF and SWITCH Materials, as well as the renowned “father of green chemistry” John Warner. The symposium also featured a student poster session and networking opportunities.