Hello!  Before you explore the website and its contents, please be aware that for me, safety and humour come first.  In terms of the former, the following contents of the video shown below is never allowed in my laboratory or home of abode:

I take pride in my environment and saving the Earth from illegal disposal of toxic chemicals; also saving my researchers from injuries and explosions in the laboratory.

Safety starts HERE!!

Let us get started!

Please use the College Education Guides to help job seekers, professionals, and students understand the changing landscapes of these programs and their impact on careers and employment. You can view the guides here:

To educate the youth on credit management, I want to share this guide: “Understanding Your Finances: A Guide for College Students

Please click here for details.

This guide aims to increase financial literacy among youth, ranging from students preparing for college to fresh graduates who are beginning to build their credit.

It covers:

  • How to pay and save for college
  • Getting college scholarships and grants
  • Managing your credit score as a student
  • Best financial advice for college students

Here is another guide that explains the most common financial misconceptions to help students make informed choices about their spending, savings, and borrowing. Check it out below:

Common Student Financial Misconceptions

During the effects of the coronavirus, I would like to share a college student’s guide to ergonomics.  This guide has super-helpful information and tips for college students on how to stay safe and keep active.

You can click here!

As a matter of respect, let us hep all veterans: As you may know, on average, 3,300 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and nearly one-third of those patients are our veterans. To date, tens of thousands of veterans have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. Please learn more about how Mesothelioma Veterans can receive assistance, please click here!

Of importance, let us practice research integrity and prevent scientific misconduct while thinking about responsible conduct of research (RCR), which is a must!!  Click here to learn about RCR (credit must be given to Prof. Wayne Hynes of Old Dominion University for preparing the website on the use of RCR); then see more as shown below.

If you are passionate about becoming a researcher in STEAM, you need to have “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” and motivation as in


One thing though, every student needs Resilience and Wellness!!

See the video entitled “Resilience and Wellness” by Sharon Milgram, Ph.D.

Click here

In the face of a student mental-health crisis, a few colleges are putting wellness into the curriculum. See those below by clicking on the following red links:

Resilience Practices

  1. Taking in the good
  2. Practicing gratitude
  3. Maintaining wellness
  4. Cultivating self-compassion
  5. Keeping your sense of humour


Why Pearls of Wisdom?

The pearl is the product of pain and a wound that has been healed. As we accept the challenges in our own lives, we will also be building a string of precious pearls. The shell of the oyster is pierced, and an alien substance or grain of sand slips inside.

On the entry of the foreign irritant all the resources within the sensitive oyster rush to that spot and begin to release healing fluids that otherwise would have remained dormant. And, as the irritant sand is continually converged upon by the fluids a pearl is made…

Pearls to Remember, by Barbara S. McDonagh

POW = R: Pearls of Wisdom = Resilience

POW = R is a prevention-focused medical student resilience program that is designed to increase general medical student wellness and mitigate or prevent anxiety, depression and burnout. The approach is grounded in positive psychology, existentialism, cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness.

A training component offered through POW = R is Balancing Life Talks (BLTs).

Your BLTs may include:

  • Resilience in Medical Education: What is it and why is it important?
    Does it impact patient care?
  • Self-awareness: What makes you happy? What do you fear?
  • Compassionate Communication: Connect your values to your life
  • Dealing with Difficult Emotions in Medical School
  • Setting Boundaries: Learn to say no
  • Sympathy – Empathy – Compassion
  • Self-compassion: Avoiding burnout
  • Maintaining Motivation and Finding Meaning
  • Attitude of Gratitude: Integrating positivity into your life
  • Freedom in Forgiveness: Becoming unstuck
  • Mantras, Meditation, and Yoga
  • The Art of Expression: Discover how our thoughts, feelings, words and actions produce energies that attract like energies into our lives
  • Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques
  • Cooking Healthy Class
  • Eating Healthy on a Budget
  • Stages of Group Processing and Team Building

From my HUMOUR, my upbringing, my thoughts, and having great mentors really made me to write the following entities.  I will begin with me as an undergraduate student in Jamaica.

From my first research experience as an undergraduate researcher (academic year: 1988-1989) in the Department of Chemistry, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, and right until today, I have come to realise that the current crop of undergraduate and graduate students of today needs proper mentoring in becoming successful researchers in the STEM subject of chemistry.  As such, I have compiled the following to guide for my researchers.  Others researchers and readers are welcome to utilise my compilations.

Happy reading!!

Last night, it dawned on me that everyone (yes, everyone) needs tips and tools for mentoring.   Why not get a taste of what I mean by clicking on the following links:

As such, please do the following:

  • Responsible Mentoring of Researchers

Click here 0

  • Tips and Tools for Mentoring Undergraduates as a Graduate Student

Click here 1

  • Six (6) tips for effective undergraduate research mentoring

Click here 2

  • Working with undergraduates: Making the most of mentorship.

Click here 3

  • How to mentor graduate students

Click here 4

Researchers, please know what to look for when choosing a mentor by clicking here!!!  Now watch the following videos:

Through the eyes and effect of mentoring on Ms. Jessa Faye Arca at the University of Southern Mississippi:

Now, let me help you if you are interested in going to graduate school; then click HERE to read the following before you go any further:

15 Tips on Surviving a Ph.D. Program

If you would like to join our research group as an undergraduate researcher, please complete the following fillable pdf form and e-mail the completed application to Dr. Alvin Holder at e-mail: aholder@odu.edu:

Holder laboratory application form-2019-2020

One of my dreams is to visit a Native American Reservation, but to work towards that dream, I do support the following:

Native American College Student Support Guide: Scholarships, Retention Strategies & Resources

The Importance of Diversity in Healthcare

Minority Students & Healthcare Education

Please give support to them all by clicking on the above links; then go onto the following:

It would be wise to click on Good & Required Laboratory and Chemical & Laboratory Safety Information; then read them thoroughly before going to the other items as shown below:


Click here to see a video of serious safety violations in a laboratory!!

 Would you like this to happen to you?

 A young lab worker, a professor and a deadly accident (the link, click here)

Can we learn from that accident via this link?

Topics on safety in the laboratory:

 Topic 1

 Topic 2 (see these links)

The following links are also great:



The Best Chemistry Gift Ideas

Why undergraduate researchers should carry out research in a laboratory before they graduate from a university:

The Benefits of Undergraduate Research: The Student’s Perspective
Why Undergraduate Research?

Ten simple rules to make the most out of your undergraduate research career

Five Essential Skills for Every Undergraduate Researcher

How to get an REU (Reseach Experience for Undergraduates)

Summer is for Research: Students and REU Programs 

STEM Graduate Programs and Fellowships:

Programs and resources for prospective and current STEM graduate students — including funding opportunities and professional development programs and resources are found by clicking here!!

A must for postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students:

Pay attention to grammar when you write anything, please see this link

How to write an excellent research report:

Tip 1

Tip 2

More tips

Is graduate school right for you?  Please click here to find out the answer.

It is a must to read the following:

Plan, plan, plan, and plan!!!

Please don’t but your head against the wall, just read this note.  I have been there!

Ten simple rules to follow

A reality check

The success?  How?

Surviving in what you perceived as a walk in the park!!

Do you wish to be a professor?  If the answer is yes, please read this article entitled “A Year in the Life of a New Professor: Inside the exhilarating frustrating, messy transition to being the boss“.

Here the link, click here


Hints for job searches:

How to enhance your chances of getting a job, a fellowship, or a summer internship by using proper reference etiquette

A must read

More to look at, read, digest, and learn about such etiquette

E-mail etiquette:

It is always wise to state the purpose of an e-mail, but begin it with a salutation.

Always have a subject, for example,

Subject:  A letter of recommendation on behalf of Mr. Alvin Holder

Here is a suitable text to be inserted in the main body of the e-mail:

Dear Mr./Dr./Ms./Mrs./Prof. Smith-Johnson,

Good morning/afternoon, evening/night.  I write this e-mail so as to send a letter of recommendation on behalf of Mr. Alvin Holder, who is applying for a job as a technician at your company.  Can you please acknowledge receiving this attachment?  If you need further information about Mr. Alvin Holder, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

John Smith,  ON, GCMG, GCVO, K.St.J

Please click on the following items and learn more:

Item 1

Item 2

Item 3

Do you know the difference between a curriculum vitae and a resume? If you don’t know the answer, please see the following:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

The Online Writing Lab at Purdue (The Owl)

The Chronicle of Higher Education Jobs Site

Professional societies:

The Royal Society of Chemistry, U.K.

The American Chemical Society

American Society for Microbiology

The American Association for Cancer Research

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)


American Society for Microbiology-The Leaders Inspiring Networks and Knowledge (ASM-LINK)

National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN)

University of North Texas Health Science Center: The Steps Toward Academic Research (STAR) Fellowship Program

Important external links as developed by the master of chemistry of the internet from way back when

Hidden gems of softwares

Important conferences:

The Annual Biomedical Conference for Minoritised Scientists

Gordon Research Conferences


Institute on Teaching and Mentoring

Other links of importance:


The role of laboratory work in university chemistry

A recrystallisation technique

Spectral Database for Organic Compounds (SDBS)

Cooling Bath Compositions

Responsible conduct of research (RCR):

In the first instance, please read the following link:

Stop ignoring misconduct

The NSF’s RCR statement:

“The Director shall require that each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project.”

Click here!!

The Royal Society of Chemistry: Professional Practice and Code of Conduct

All researchers in my research group are REQUIRED to go to the following link entitled “ODU’s RCR and training” and follow the directions on how to complete the RCR course:

ODU’s RCR and training

then they MUST complete the basic RCR training by using the following modules:

  • Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Research Misconduct
  • Data Management
  • Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Mentoring
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Collaborative Research
  • The CITI RCR Course Completion

Biomedical researchers should also do the following:

  • Using animal subjects in research (# 13301)
  • Human subjects (# 13566)

For biosafety/biosecurity:

  • Basic biosafety
  • Blood-borne pathogens

An interactive video “The Lab” from the Office of Research Integrity

The ODU policy on allegations of misconduct

Topics of importance:

Topic 1

Topic 2

Topic 3

Topic 4: A serious incident

Topic 5: Other misconducts

Graduate students’ resources:

The ACS Directory of Graduate Research (DGRweb)

SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program: Increasing Faculty Diversity

Let me remind and refresh you by asking you to recap with the following entities:

Listen to me, but read this link first

How to survive in a graduate school

Ten Simple Rules for Graduate Students

Diversity issues:

Item 1

Item 2

Item 3

The Unequal Opportunity Race