CHOPs group photo 2017

Chemistry Opportunities (CHOPs)

 CHOPs Applications are now open. Apply by June 7, 2024.

CHOPs 2024 will be held September 26th-29th, 2024. Once you submit a completed application, please allow a few weeks for a response. Questions may be directed to Desiree Bates at


The Chemistry Opportunities (CHOPS) program invites approximately 20 highly qualified prospective students to the UW-Madison Chemistry Department for an all-expense-paid weekend to explore the chemistry Ph.D. graduate program. CHOPS was first launched fall 2012 at the UW-Madison Chemistry Department.

Applying for CHOPs

Applications for the in-person event are due June 7, 2024. Those selected to participate will be notified during the late summer.

Information on the CHOPs Application


This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Why apply for CHOPs?

During the CHOPS preview weekend, you will have the opportunity to explore the UW-Madison graduate program in chemistry. You will not only get to interact with faculty, staff, and current graduate students in an informal setting, but also will get the opportunity to explore the friendly and diverse city of Madison. Learn more about applying for CHOPS.

Who can participate?

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are recent college graduates, or students with junior or senior status who will graduate in 2025 or 2026.  All applicants must intend to apply for admission to the UW-Madison graduate program in chemistry.

What to expect during the CHOPS weekend

Through CHOPS, you will get a great sense of what it’s like to be a graduate student in the Chemistry Department at UW-Madison, as well as what it’s like to live in Madison. During the weekend, participants have the opportunity to:

  • Take tours of the research facilities in the Chemistry Department and across the UW-Madison campus
  • Meet with the research faculty and current chemistry graduate students
  • Get an overview of the chemistry graduate program
  • Ask questions about how to prepare a competitive graduate school application
  • Take part in planned Madison activities

CHOPs weekend schedule

Thursday Evening

  • Arrive at Dane County Regional Airport
  • Check-in to hotel
  • Welcome dinner with graduate student hosts and an overview talk about UW-Madison


  • Breakfast and welcome talk with the department chair
  • Faculty research presentations
  • Microscopy workshops/facility tours
  • Individual meetings with faculty
  • Lunch with faculty
  • Poster session and social hour
  • Dinner


  • Breakfast and presentation on attending graduate school at UW-Madison and the application process.
  • Tour of Madison
  • Dinner


  • Depart for home

Cost to attend

All visit expenses — including travel, lodging, and on-campus meals — will be covered for students selected to participate in CHOPs.

Timeline for application and participant selection

Applications are accepted until June 7th, 2024 for participation in the in-person event.  The CHOPS 2024 event will be held September 26th-29th, 2024.  Applicants selected to participate will be notified by email.

CHOPS participants and applicants also receive an application fee waiver for the UW-Madison Graduate School online application.

Meet the CHOPs Team!

Andrew Buller

Portrait of Professor Andrew Buller smiling

I am an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry department and additionally a trainer for the Integrated Program in Biochemistry and the Biophysics graduate program. Research in my group focuses on developing and understanding enzymes as practical catalysts for organic chemistry. I am fortunate to have a job that is my passion, I love science and teaching it to others. Outside of work, I like to go for jogs and walks with my wife, reading, and playing board games. I am fortunate to be a third generation college graduate and I benefited from a lot of informal guidance from my parents during my education. As a CHOPS member, I want to help make applying for and getting accepted into graduate school as low-barrier as possible so that everyone who is driven by the joy of discovery can continue their journey.

Sam Pazicni 

Portrait of Professor Sam Pazicni smiling

I am a faculty member in the Chemistry Department and I lead a research group focused on chemistry education. Outside of the lab, I enjoy music and theatre, cooking extravagant things, and exploring the world. As a first-generation college student and a graduate of a small undergraduate institution, I see the power of CHOPs. Graduate work at a large research institution was a brand new world for me and (at the time) there were few structures in place to support my transition. I eventually figured things out, but I am glad to see programs like CHOPs here at UW–Madison that help!  

Desiree Bates

Portrait of Dr. Desiree Bates smiling

I am the computational chemistry director for the department of chemistry. I am very passionate about equitable means for higher education. As a POC within STEM, I feel a responsibility to create a more equitable system for marginalized populations to have access to education. Outside of my career, I have a wonderful family. We love to paddle board and be on the water during the summers and watch hockey games all winter. Feel free to contact me at anytime for help along your educational path.

Mike Schwartz

Portrait of Dr. Mike Schwartz smiling

I’m the Managing Director for the NSF Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, which is a center based in the UW-Madison Chemistry Department, and which has member labs that are distributed across the country. I have been involved with CHOPs since I first learned about it after joining the department in 2016. I really enjoy meeting CHOPs students and learning their stories, and participating in this program has been one of the best parts of my job.

Uriel Garcia 

Hello, my name is Uriel Garcia, and I am a second year in the Wickens group at UW Madison. Currently, my research focuses on generating potent electrophiles from thianthrene and alkenes and reacting out of them to form interesting products. As an undergraduate, CHOPS helped expose me to what graduate school was like and aided me in my choice to pursue it here at UW Madison. Now, as a current graduate student, I am happy and honored to be a member of this program and help others with their post-graduate decisions. This program will provide you with the ins and outs of research, studying and living at a top-tier institution.

Brianna Hopper

Hi! I’m a second year graduate student in the Garand group, and my research focuses on using photoelectron spectroscopy to study electronic states and transitions of environmentally relevant molecules. I started working for CHOPS in part to help support a program that strives to create opportunities and spaces for those who have not been historically prioritized in academia. In my free time, I like to knit, tend to plants, and read books off my endless TBR. I’m happy to answer any questions about the graduate school experience, research or otherwise!



Enter your information below to receive information about CHOPS 2024 and a link to the application.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


The CHOPS 2024 program is possible because of generous support from the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry, Dow Chemical Company and P&G.