Monday, June 25, 2012

And for the other side, #chemjobs in a nutshell

Congrats to Rutgers alum Dan Coiro for earning an award as America's Top TA (via James):
Soon, more than 150 students were packing Coiro’s weekly "Rogue Review Sessions" on the New Brunswick-Piscataway campus. In addition, he was fielding more than 700 e-mails a week from desperate students with organic chemistry questions. Dozens more were calling his cell phone in the middle of the night looking for help. 
"It started getting somewhat crazy," said Coiro, 22, of Roxbury. "Once I started doing this, I realized I really love teaching." 
Coiro’s dedication earned him the title "America’s Top TA" in a national contest held last month. One of the Rutgers undergraduates who came to him for organic chemistry help nominated him for the prize. Then Coiro’s loyal students mobilized on Facebook to vote him the winner of the contest, which was sponsored by the textbook company CengageBrain.
What did Mr. Coiro find on the other side of the rainbow?
Coiro graduated from Rutgers last month with a 3.6 grade-point average and about $15,000 in student debt. The son of an engineer father and an apartment manager mother said he is currently living at home and looking for a chemistry job to pay the bills. 
Aiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! What's this young fellow thinking about doing? Well...:
But he has abandoned his plans to go to medical school. Instead, he is studying for the GRE exam and plans to apply to graduate school to become a teacher. He said his "America’s Top TA" title helped him realize his true calling is not medicine. Instead, he wants to teach high school science and eventually become a college professor. "I just changed gears after this," Coiro said. "I’d rather do something I really feel is my passion."
AAaaaaaiiii -- well, no. If indeed teaching organic chemistry is Mr. Coiro's passion, I congratulate him on finding his life's love (workwise, anyway) and wish him the very best.


  1. If he wants to be a teacher he should be working on getting his teaching certificate. Then, if can secure a high school gig, he'll be probably will be ok. Going to grad school though is plain stupid, that is if all he wants is to teach.

    1. If you want to reproduce the high (?) of teaching organic to undergrads, though, you need a graduate degree and probably a Ph.D.

    2. The only other solution would be a master's in chemistry for an adjunct job - easy enough to get, but he'll have to find a wife with a real job and benefit plan!

    3. Even if he gets his PhD he should be prepared to adjunct for a while. All these tenured profs who swore there would be a vacuum of talent when all the baby boomers retired have conveniently not retired and backed up the queue for TT positions.

    4. "If you want to reproduce the high (?) of teaching organic to undergrads"

      Teaching orgo to undergrads is a crazy high. I loved it. Orgo II is espcially druglike. Much better than general chem I & II or even Orgo I (probably because a lot of the posers drop out by then).

    5. from original anon...

      Actually come to think about it, if he goes to good grad school, makes sure that he does not need department's approval to take additional classes, and there's a possibility to take classes that he needs for a teaching certificate, he can get everything done on university's dime and then escape with master's degree

  2. I know a teaching prof who got his PhD in chemical education, maybe that's an option?

  3. Ah, now it makes sense. Without clicking the link there was important info missing. He's a college senior and hasn't yet been to grad school. Once he's there he'll figure out soon enough that it takes more than just a grad degree to be a prof. If he wants to teach primary school and/or adjunct and/or be an instructor an MS or MEd will suffice. And good for him.

    At the primary school level, an MS will put him at a higher starting salary than a BS/BA. Even more so if he speaks a foreign language fluently. I'm not sure what the demand for primary-level science teachers is but have friends who have recently started at $50K who were bilingual and had MS's in biological sciences.

    There are PhDs in education and science education but most programs require professional teaching experience prior to applying. TAing doesn't always count.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20