Just like many of you, I received my invitation to join NSCS during the second semester of my freshman year. For almost all four years of my undergrad, I was part of the organization and now as an alum member, I continue receiving the benefits of joining back when I was a freshman. As a science major, I have received many benefits from joining an all-inclusive major/field of study society since the skills I learned were later translated to my scientific research.
Since the beginning of my membership, I have been given t opportunities to contribute to my chapter, local community and even to help at the national level. Moreover, I was given the opportunity to contribute something to the lives of those in the local community in to the hope of making a difference in their lives. Since community service is a pillar of NSCS, I thought that by doing something we,the chapter, really cared about, the El Paso community benefited from us while we learned from them.
As an undergraduate member I was the VP for PACE, chapter president and member of the National Leadership Council.
As chapter president, I had to take decisions and make goals for the chapter; I didn’t know back then that those skills were going to be translated into my research experience. When going into the lab, I had my own project and had to make the decisions as to where I wanted to take my project. The lessons learned from leading the chapter were engrained into my research and at the end of my undergraduate career, I was the one making the changes and proper modifications to my project. In addition to making decisions, I had to help and train the future officers since I was involved as an NSCS officer for almost three years. Those trainings also helped me in my work since I worked as peer-leader for chemistry class leading groups of twenty plusstudents and also training new members of the research laboratory of which I was part.
NSCS has helped me to realize that I am capable of many things. Without the challenges NSCS presented to me during my undergraduate years, I couldn’t have known that I was able to be a leader and make a difference in my community and the chapter. The lessons learned from being involved with NSCS allowed me to get out of my comfort zone, try new things, and challenge myself to bigger and harder dreams than I had thought of before.
*This is a great organization that will help you grow in your leadership (and many other) skills that will transcribe into your field of study without you realizing it. Oh and just remember, your experience is what you want to make of it while in the organization, so make sure to get involved and experience all that NSCS has to offer.
Jacqueline Gamboa Varela has been a member of NSCS since 2008. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s in chemistry and has served as the NSCS chapter president and also on the NLC. She is doing her graduate work in bioorganic chemistry and is also part of the Alumni Board. She loves traveling and volunteering. Follow her on twitter at @jgamboa6.