Three universities host an international summer chemistry program in Santiago, Chile

Author: Stephanie Healey

Heidelberg Center for Latin America

Twenty doctoral students from Europe, Latin America, and the United States are participating in the Santander International Summer School on molecular catalysts from July 14-24 at the Heidelberg Center for Latin America in Santiago, Chile. Organized by the University of Notre Dame, University of Heidelberg in Germany, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC) in Santiago, the summer school will highlight the fundamentals and current developments in the field of molecular catalysts, with an emphasis on catalysts as synthetic tools.

Students and faculty in attendance represent institutions in Germany, France, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Professors Seth Brown and Vlad Iluc, as well as graduate student Brittany Barrett, are attending the program on behalf of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Notre Dame.

“I am very much looking forward to teaching in such an international setting,” Brown explained. “Science is very international, and although I have given several talks to multinational audiences, teaching is a little different—it's a smaller group, there is more repeated contact, and the goals are focused more on developing the students' own understanding of science than communicating one's personal research results. Although all of the instruction will be in English, it will be interesting to navigate different pedagogical traditions as there will be students in attendance from across the globe.”

When asked why she applied for the program, Barrett, a fourth year graduate student in Iluc’s lab said, “I wanted to participate in the program because it will provide a great opportunity to gain insight about my project from experts in my field and teach me about methods I can potentially apply to research that I may have overlooked. I’m also really looking forward to meeting other graduate students in my field from around the world.  Making these far reaching connections will be invaluable.”

Notre Dame previously established connections with the two partner universities through memorandums of understanding signed with PUC in 2013 and Heidelberg in 2014. Last year, delegations from the chemistry departments at Notre Dame and Heidelberg visited PUC at the same time to explore ways to develop relationships between their own chemistry departments and PUC. Realizing that the three universities had relationships with each other, the groups decided to collaborate on the summer school.

This year’s summer school is fully supported by the Santander Universidades Global Division, a division of Banco Santander that has collaborated with universities for more than 16 years to provide support for the development of academic initiatives relating to scholarships, mobility grants, research programs, university-enterprise relations and new technologies.

View the summer school program overview.