Admitted students learn about PME in new virtual format

The first of two virtual admitted students visits at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago took place on February 23 and 24. The two-day event gave attendees an inside look at the school and introduced them to faculty members, current students, researchers, and others. The program aimed to familiarize admitted students with Pritzker Molecular Engineering’s unique problem-based focus, collaborative model, and culture.

“We have worked hard to make sure [admitted students] can interact in multiple formats with students, faculty, and staff to learn about all PME has to offer,” said Prof. Aaron Esser-Kahn, the faculty lead for the event. “We hope students can go beyond PowerPoints and Zoom to get a sense of the passion and excitement that is infectious throughout PME.”

The first day started with a welcome event, where Dean Matthew Tirrell, Esser-Kahn, and faculty leads for PME’s themes gave overviews of their research and took questions from the admitted students.

Admitted students also met individually with faculty members, virtually toured individual labs and the greater University of Chicago campus, and attended student-led events like a panel discussion and a social mixer.

Several events took place in a virtual conference space called Gather Town, a new format that PME adopted this year. The platform allowed admitted students to navigate around a customizable space and casually interact with current PME community members via voice and video chat.

One particularly dynamic event was a poster session, where faculty and students presented on their research. Admitted students were able to read posters on research projects, getting the chance to speak with members of lab groups about their work and experience.

Esser-Kahn also emphasized how the virtual events provided an unprecedented percent of admitted students, some of whom would be unable to make the trip in person, to get a personalized look at the PME.

“While meeting virtually will never replace a casual conversation or dinner,” said Esser-Kahn, “one advantage has been increasing access to PME, allowing more than 95% of admitted students to visit with us.”

PME will host a second virtual visit for admitted students on March 9-10.