Courtney Roberts featured in Science for virtual recruitment event

Science Careers spoke with Roberts about what her department learned, what advice she has for others who are putting together similar events, and why departments may want to consider offering virtual recruitment well into the future.

In March 2020, Courtney Roberts’s chemistry department canceled its plans to host prospective graduate students for an on-campus recruitment weekend just 4 days before the event was set to start. In its place, the University of Minnesota chemistry department where Roberts is an assistant professor set out to offer a virtual alternative. Mobilizing to create such an event from scratch was no small feat. “There was no sleeping involved that week,” Roberts jokes.

The event was hosted on Slack, a platform that allows users to create profiles and interact with one another through topic-specific channels and direct messages. Roberts and the other organizers created a slew of channels for discussing specific lab groups, student life, diversity, and more. They also posted prerecorded videos and links to live discussions on Zoom, which can be integrated into Slack. Roberts and her colleagues explained all this and more in a paper about the virtual recruitment weekend published in the Journal of Chemical Education; it is now her most-read paper of all time.

How to showcase your department to prospective grad students—virtually

Science Careers
By Katie Langin  Feb. 2, 2021 , 12:45 PM