Increasing numbers of undergraduate chemists have been participating in the National Organic Symposium. Although undergraduate participants can most often grasp the overarching issue(s) of seminar and poster presentations, their backgrounds do not always permit them to instantaneously register understanding of such things as named reactions and experimental techniques invoked. This undergraduate Context Session provides a collegial venue in which undergraduate participants can ask the kinds of clarifying questions—from simple definitional aspects to reaction mechanisms to spectroscopic methods to people and chemical history—they would not feel comfortable asking from the floor of an NOS session. The Context Session is moderated by faculty (Jeff Katz from Colby College and Ronald Brisbois from Macalester College) who solicit a list of questions from undergraduates in attendance. In an effort to enhance connections between the undergraduates attending the Context Session, the first opportunity to "go to the board" and provide an explanation to any question is offered to undergraduates with background in those specific areas. The faculty moderators, and other advanced students and faculty who are present, weigh in with further comments only after undergraduates have had the chance to edify each other as a function of their different backgrounds. We welcome and encourage participation from undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, scientists from industry, and faculty at all levels.
(Pizza and soft drinks will be provided to all Context Session Participants.)