A gathering of chemistry and biochemistry graduate student alumni in the Jordan Hall of Science before the Navy game launched an initiative to boost engagement with graduate students from departments across the campus. Fifteen invited alumni participated in a focus group in the morning, then attended a tailgate and the game. Sean Kassen, an academic advancement program director for the College of Science and graduate alumnus, said the event was the first and necessary step in this larger effort.
"The idea was to do a focus group and get a better idea of how the University, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the College of Science can keep these graduate alumni engaged in what’s going on at the University," he said, explaining that graduate students have a different Notre Dame experience than undergraduates. For example, they do not have the dorm experience undergraduates have. "They probably have a stronger tie to the department they graduated from than the University as a whole."
The pilot focused on Chemistry and Biochemistry because it is one of the larger graduate departments in the College of Science. College of Science Dean Gregory Crawford and Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Chair Kenneth Henderson spoke at the event. Alumni from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s participated. Some who could not attend likely will be surveyed for their ideas. The refined model will hopefully be utilized for other departments in other colleges.