Liu Yuanjie, Ph.D. candidate, is the chairperson of the AAPS National University of Singapore student chapter.
I experienced a lot and learned a lot throughout the year by serving in an AAPS student chapter. The valuable experience that I gained during all kinds of events is closely related to a Ph.D. student like me, but far beyond sciences. After the student chapter chair meeting at the 2012 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition, some of the students asked me: “How did you guys manage all your activities? International programming? How do you motivate the students?” Here are a few suggestions from my experiences that I hope will be helpful to you.
Focus on what students really care about. A great thing about student chapters is that they are initiated by students and can truly reflect student interests. When it comes to industry visits and career seminars organized by our student chapter, participation and motivation is never a problem.
Don’t forget your alumni. Those who have just finished their Ph.D. or master’s programs in your school and entered into the next level of their career might be exactly the persons that you want to talk to. Invite them back to talk about their experience; they will be glad to share, and students will benefit from it.
Build a bridge between the students and AAPS. Utilize the resources provided by AAPS to benefit your student members—free AAPS student memberships, visiting scientists, webinars, conference information, travelships or awards, and a lot more. Most of the time, the students are just not aware of the opportunities around them.
Take advantage of AAPS promotional materials—they really work! Pens, post-it notes, T-shirts, water bottles, etc. This is one of the attractions in our events. We also combine the gifts with something like a fun quiz or activity so students can participate. Participants like to be challenged and win prizes.
Finally, have passion and confidence about what you are doing. Taking part in an AAPS student chapter will definitely be a worthwhile experience. Just enjoy it!