metallography dot com logo The following article originally appeared in the December '96 edition of "Advanced Materials & Processes" magazine a publication of ASM International. It describes The Materials Science and Engineering Career Resource Center a new online resource aimed at high school students and underclassmen at universities who are interested in discovering the career possibilities in materials science and engineering. The article has been converted for the Web, and is shown here, with the gracious permission of the author Rachel Farrow, and Margaret W. Hunt, "AM&P" Editor. For help finding a job check out engineerjobs.com and MATERIALSJobs.com.


Online resource answers the question:
What can I do with an engineering degree in the materials field?

by Rachel Farrow

The Materials Science and Engineering Career Resource Center website will provide a resource where young people can learn about and make career choices in materials science. (the graphic above shows a portion of the CRC home page)


"The greatest real thrill that life offers is to create, to construct, to develop something useful. Too often we fail to recognize and pay tribute to the creative spirit. It is that spirit that creates our jobs. There has to be this pioneer, the individual who has the courage, the ambition to overcome the obstacles that always develope when one tries to do something worthwhile, especialIy when it is new and different." This quote by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. in 1941 seems to speak directly to an inherent problem that today faces the scientific community in general -- getting young people interested in the field.

The National Research Council performed a study a couple of years ago that identified a lack of interest in career planning for students. The study showed that students of all types and areas of interest not only had a lack of interest in planning for future careers, but that there was also a lack of resources to help them. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation took interest in the outcome of this study and decided to address the problem. The Foundation selected a number of scientific areas that needed to provide resources and information about their fields of interest. One of the areas selected was materials science and engineering.

A grant of $441,550 from the Sloan Foundation was granted to The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS) to create an on-line resource called the Materials Science and Engineering Career Resource Center (CRC). This effort is being coordinated by Prof. Gerald L. Liedl, FASM, head of Purdue's School of Materials Engineering along with the CRC committee, which is comprised of people throughout the field and representatives from the major materials-related professional societies. The group will be taking on the responsibility of identifying the key areas of information that must be made available to students and others around the nation about the exciting and challenging careers available in materials science and engineering. "The general public does not have a real understanding of materials science globally or specifically and getting that information to people is very important. I hope that we can show people what the field offers and what can be considered when making career decisions," said Liedl. In its final form, the CRC will be comprised of several sections of information that will be useful in making career choices in materials science and engineering. "When it's completed in late 1997 (WebMaster's Note: The CRC is completed and you can visit at http://www.crc4mse.org/Index.html.), the Career Resource Center for Materials will be a computer-based source of information about the wide range of careers available in materials science and engineering," Liedl said. The audience is primarily high school students and underclassmen at universities - both groups of students are at the point where they're making career choices."

Options available to the user will be:
1)"Ask the Expert," a forum that allows users to send e-mail questions to experts with materials science degrees.
2)Video interviews with materials engineers working on the job .
3)A compilation of available academic programs offering materials science and engineering curricula.
4)An introduction to materials science and engineering, including basic elements of the field and materials systems.
5)Information about the role materials play in all aspects of life, including the manufacture of specific products.
Information about people in the field began this summer when over 5,000 professionals in materials science and engineering were surveyed. The survey information will first be provided on the CRC website and later will be available in CD-ROM format. The CD-ROM version will also contain case study video interviews. The CD-ROM and the website will be interactive when complete. Visitors will be provided paths through the system that they select or ones that reflect inputs based upon their interests.

"The Alfred Sloan Foundation has placed an important burden of responsibility on the professional societies and those practicing in the materials science and engineering field to create an effective way to address this problem. We hope to create a methodology by which the CRC can be maintained and updated constantly," commented Liedl. "We have an obligation to provide the answer to the question: 'What can I do with a degree in materials?"

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic non-profit institution, was established by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., in 1934. During 1995, the Sloan Foundation authorized grants totaling $53 million.


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