What is senior experience?
Senior experience is a series of elective projects designed to give chemistry students experience in projects that fall outside the typical classroom setting. This experience is designed to better prepare students for jobs and education after they graduate. Also, these projects will allow students to become more involved in the chemistry department and get closer contact with the chemistry department's faculty and staff. These projects will involve research or service learning and will be assigned a letter grade under the chemistry 494 class. BS chemistry majors are advised to use their 2 elective units for senior experience and BA chemistry majors are advised to use their 1 unit of elective.

How are the senior experience projects determined?
In order to have more input into their education, the projects are mostly determined by the students. Please look at the list of possible projects below and determine the three areas you are most interested in working. Please rank your choice by order of your interest in them. Because many of the projects only have limited space, you may not get your first choice. However, we will try our best to involve you in your first choice.

Types of senior experience projects

A) Research: All of the SSU chemistry department’s faculty are involved in undergraduate research. The student will work closely with the faculty on an independent research project. This will allow the student to obtain research skills and knowledge that they would not normally obtain in an undergraduate research lab. Please speak to the individual chemistry faculty to learn more about ongoing research projects.

B) Stockroom work: In this project the student will work with the stockroom technician. Some of the duties will involve 1) Prepare material for the labs 2) Person the stockroom window 3) Prep. Glassware for labs 4) Clear and set up of lab spaces 5) record keeping and reporting. This type of experience will prepare students for a career in the chemistry industry.

C) Working with the departmental Administrative Coordinator (A.C.): This project will involve assisting the AC in the chemistry office. This will allow the student to learn more about the business of operating a chemistry department. Also, the student will learn how the campus operates, and how individual departments interact to achieve common goals.

D) TA / Grader: In this project the student will work with a particular instructor and help them teach a class. The type of work can involve helping run a laboratory section or to help grade course material. The project can involve either area or a mixture of both. This project would be excellent for those students who are interested in teaching as a career.

E) Working with the instrumentation tech: This project will involve helping the technician set up and maintain the chemistry department’s instrumentation. The students will get hands on training and detailed knowledge of chemistry department’s instrumentation. Also, the students will learn about standard lab practices. This project would be excellent for those students who are interested in a career in the analysis industry. 

F) Internships: A number of the local science industries are interested in hiring undergraduates into internship positions. Some of these positions can turn into full-time jobs. Because these positions involve off campus businesses, opportunities may be limited. If you are interested please discuss this option with your advisor.

E) Chemistry Club: This position involves the student either helping with the normal operation of the chemistry club, or acting as a representative of the chemistry department in community outreach. This position is by far the most versatile, allowing for involvement in a wide variety of projects. Note! You can still be involved in the chemistry club without choosing this as your senior experience. Some of the sub-projects are:

  • Maintaining the student room and running a student store
  • Printing and distributing the lab manuals for chemistry classes
  • Writing and distributing the chem. department’s newsletter (The Mole)
  • Group / peer advising
  • Chemistry Club officer
  • Working in the SSU’s tutor center.
  • Community outreach (working with local high schools, performing chemistry demos, ect.)
  • Seminar organizer - this includes finding speakers, printing flyers, bringing the refreshments, hosting the speaker and making sure the IT portion of the seminar is dealt with

F) Other: If you have any ideas for a possible senior experience project we will be happy to consider them. Please discuss your idea with your advisor.


Email:, Phone: (707) 664-2119
Mailing Address: Chemistry Department, Darwin 300, 1801 E. Cotati Ave Rohnert Park, CA 94928
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Department of Chemistry, School of Science & Technology, Sonoma State University
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