Chemistry Graduates Land Top Jobs In Industry, Academia

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

The doctoral program in organic chemistry is making inroads among the top rank of its peers as its recent graduates garner top positions in academia and industry.

Prof. Amir Hoveyda (Chemistry) said 1997 graduates of the program landed highly competitive, tenure-track positions at major research universities. And, he added, for the first time, the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers are including Boston College among their limited annual recruiting stops in Boston.

"Large pharmaceutical companies are recruiting here regularly for the first time," Hoveyda said. "They only go to the top chemistry departments and this shows that the quality of our Ph.Ds is really being appreciated."

Among the half-dozen or so companies which made recruiting appearances on campus this fall were such giants as Bristol Myers Squibb and Ely Lilly, Hoveyda said. Traditionally, these companies visit only two universities in the Boston area, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Now they're going to Harvard and BC," Hoveyda said. "All of the recruiters said that the quality of our Ph.Ds is competitive with, if not better than, other major science departments in the area, including Harvard and MIT."

The recognition has ancillary benefits, as well, Hoveyda said. It allows the department to recruit better students and gains added grant funding from the same companies that are looking to BC for scientists.

Prof. Amir Hoveyda (Chemistry).

Academia also has been clamoring for the graduates of Hoveyda's lab. Four of the six individuals who earned organic chemistry doctorates last year landed high-quality faculty positions at the University of North Carolina and the University of Sheffield, England, among others, he said. The other two are employed by drug companies. One of the new professors chose from among 12 job offers, he said.

The fact that the program's graduates are winning such top academic jobs indicates that the program's reputation extends beyond industry. Speaking of his peers in academia, Hoveyda said, "89 percent of us went to Harvard," where he was a postdoctoral fellow. The new trend in the department "tells you what people think of us.

"The true testimony to your program is the quality of people you put out. These are the things that take us to the next echelon."

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