Frequently Asked Questions

What happens at the retreat?  

Woodshop Tools

3 Workshops
Learn about different tools to enhance your career like how to overcome imposter syndrome, communication techniques, and more.

 

Podium

1 Keynote
Dr. Edgar Arriaga will be kicking off the retreat with his keynote presentation. 

Three Flavours of Ice Cream

3 Career Panels
Choose your flavor: ask questions to the academia, industry, and non-traditional panels about  daily work life, career progression, and job opportunities.

Vintage Music Posters

1 Poster Session
Practice your elevator talk with fellow attendees and panelists. 

Art Class

2 Breakout Sessions
These small group sessions focus on key elements that aren't taught in the lab, like interview skills and resume setup.

 

Electronic Wires

∞ Networking Opportunities
Whether it's Networking Bingo or just eating dinner, you'll have tons of opportunities to network with fellow attendees and panelists. 

Where is the retreat being held? 

The MWRDC 2022 is being held at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa - learn more here. 

When exactly does the event start and end? 

The retreat starts Friday, June 24th at 2:30 pm and the retreat ends on Sunday, June 26th around lunch time. The itinerary can be found here.

How much does the retreat cost and what's included? 

The retreat costs $120 per attendee, this fee includes lodging and food during the retreat.

What's the cost breakdown of the retreat?  

The retreat fee helps cover the cost of food, lodging, travel for panelists, rental space for the retreat activities, workshop fees, supplies, travel scholarships, credit card fees, and more. All of this is estimated to cost around $34,000.

Our committee fundraises throughout the year to help offset the cost of the retreat so instead of paying $680, you pay $120. We are extremely thankful for all of our sponsors for their continued support, allowing us to keep the cost of the retreat low. You can find a list of our sponsors here.

Who can attend the retreat?

Any graduate student or postdoctoral researcher in chemistry or a closely-related field is welcome to attend our retreat! We do not accept undergraduate students as the topic information might not yet be relevant.

Are there scholarship opportunities available? 

Yes, during registration you will be asked if you would like to apply for a scholarship. We ask you provide a brief explanation of why you need this scholarship and outline what you would like to get from the retreat experience. 


The scholarship will cover your retreat fees of $120 but attendees will still be responsible for any associated travel cost.

The following institutions have expressed interest in financially supporting their students' attendance to the retreat:

  • University of Minnesota (Department of Chemistry)

  • Washington University in St. Louis (Department of Chemistry)

  • ACS Southern Wisconsin Local Section

​If you are affiliated with these institutions, please reach out to the appropriate contacts to request financial assistance for the retreat.

How do I ask for permission/funding to go to the MWRDC?

It is possible your PI or faculty mentor may be able to provide funding to support your attendance of the MWRDC. We have provided language below to help you explain the retreat in a succinct way, and how you might go about asking for this assistance.

 

First, you should describe what the MWRDC is. Here's a description:
 

The Midwest Retreat for Diversity in Chemistry was created by Prof. Robbyn Anand at Iowa State University. The goal of the retreat is "the retention of underrepresented groups in chemistry careers and their advancement into leadership roles. We aim to teach graduate and postdoctoral chemists a positive and proactive approach to their careers. Specifically, the retreat will connect attendees to a close-knit network of colleagues and mentors, teach strategies for career success, and provide a toolkit for success in their chemistry career paths." There will be workshops on imposter syndrome, scientific communication, and pathways to career success, as well as breakout sessions, a research poster session, and three career panels. The weekend-long retreat will be on Friday, June 24th to Sunday, June 26th, 2022 at Grinnell College in Grinnell, IA. 

 

Then, you should tell your PI why you want to go. To strengthen your reasoning, you could include some skills that you are hoping to gain at the retreat (e.g., networking, interviews, job application tips, communication, etc.)

 

Lastly, if your PI typically supports conference travel, you can ask them to financially support your registration fee. You could say something like:

As you can see, I am really excited to attend MWRDC this year. Would you be willing to financially support my attendance? The all-inclusive registration fee (including housing, meals, and workshop fees) is $120. 

What does housing look like? 

Attendees will be staying in air conditioned dormitories with a private room and a communal bathroom. Linens will be provided. 

What should I bring to the retreat? 

The committee will send out an email about what to bring closer to the date of the retreat - look for our email! 

What's the dress code for this event? 

Casual - we want you to focus on the content not on how you look. 

Do I have to present at the poster session? 

All attendees are highly encouraged to present at the poster session. This is a low-stakes environment that gives you a chance to practice your elevator talk.

Do you have travel advice? 

Closer to the event date we will send out an email to everyone with a list of attendees from your university if you want to carpool.

How are you planning on handling COVID-19? 

We are following the CDC guidelines as well as our host's rules - please read more on our COVID-19 page.

How are you handling dietary restrictions? 

In registration we ask if you have any dietary restrictions - please list all dietary restrictions and we will be able to accommodate you.

How are you handling accessibility for all attendees? 

In registration we ask if you have any accessibility concerns - please add anything that we can help you with to make the retreat work for you. If you have further questions, feel free to contact us directly.

I still have questions - who can I contact? 

Send an email (Hi committee, I have a question about the MWRDC retreat...) to mwrdc@iastate.edu. Someone from the committee will get back to you as quickly as our schedules allow. We're a group of graduate students, so please do not feel intimidated by contacting us!