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. . .And an Overview of MS&T’12 Symposia Honoring TMS Members
Julia Weertman Examines Economic Considerations in STEM Recruiting in 2012 ASM/TMS Distinguished Lecture|
Posted on: 9/22/2012 12:00:00 AM... The seeds for Julia Weertman’s ASM/TMS Distinguished Lecture in Materials and Society, set for October at the Materials Science & Technology Conference and Exhibition (MS&T’12), were planted some years ago at a celebration for talented seventh and eighth graders. She had been asked to speak at a “graduation ceremony” of students who had completed the Midwest Talent Search, a summer enrichment program hosted by Northwestern University. As part of the festivities, each student was to share what he or she wanted to pursue as a career. Much to Weertman’s surprise and chagrin, none of them wanted to be an engineer and only one wanted to pursue a scientific career. “Most of them said they wanted to be investment bankers, I guess because they thought that’s where the money was,” she recalled.TMS MEMBERS HONORED AT SPECIAL MS&T SYMPOSIA
The topic of Weertman’s lecture, “Economics, Materials and Materials Scientists,” will draw from this experience and other observations she has made over the years on making science and engineering attractive career choices for the next generation workforce.
“Much has been discussed about the need for better prepared science and math teachers, improved schools, and more funding to attract students into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields,” she said. “But, I believe another factor is that most STEM professionals simply do not make as much money as those in other careers. You generally do not get rich in STEM, which can be an issue in a culture where success is measured by income.”
Weertman said she has looked to the JOM annual salary survey for insights
in preparing her talk. “The JOM information is very well-presented in that it shows how salaries change as we progress in our careers,” she said. “What strikes me is that salaries in materials science and engineering plateau strongly, particularly when you compare them with the progression of incomes in other professions. Science and engineering coursework is very hard, and for some, the perceived payoff is not worth those challenges.”
Current economic trends might influence more young people to give science and engineering a try, Weertman said, since employment projections in these areas are generally strong. Still, she believes that all factors that could possibly impact on the decision to pursue a STEM career—including economic incentives—should be considered when developing strategies to build the future science and engineering workforce.
While she maintains that there is “no silver bullet” to the issue of ensuring the future strength and quality of the STEM workforce, Weertman commented that positive personal experience with teachers or STEM professionals is still probably the most powerful tool in the STEM recruitment arsenal. She credits her own high school chemistry teacher for encouraging her to study physics, ultimately earning her B.S., M.S., and D.Sc. from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University), Pittsburgh.
“I believe that many people can trace their career interests back to someone who inspired them,” she said.
Editor’s Note: Julia Weertman will deliver the 2012 ASM/TMS Distinguished Lecture in Materials and Society on Monday, October 8, at 1 pm during MS&T’12 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A 1993 TMS Fellow, Weertman is currently the Walter P. Murphy Professor Emerita of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University.
Industrial Involvement in Academia: Anthony Pengidore Memorial Symposium
Anthony “Tony” Pengidore was tireless in his advocacy for the profession he loved. “He was concerned about the future of engineering and had a strong desire to make engineering relevant to the evolving technological world,” said David Shifler, symposium organizer and TMS Board Director, Professional Development. Pengidore’s volunteer contributions to TMS alone included serving on the TMS Board as Director, Professional Development; chairing the TMS Professional Registration Committee; and serving on the Education and Accreditation Committees. This symposium, which brings together the work of the TMS Education, Accreditation, and Professional Registration committees, has been developed in the spirit of his commitment.
A series of invited talks will highlight strategies for ensuring that the next generation of engineers are fully prepared for meeting the industrial needs and challenges of the 21st century. A portion of the symposium program will also be devoted to a roundtable discussion on strengthening connections between industry and academia. Specifically, the session will examine the current state of materials education and how academic programs can best prepare students for the profession.
Raymond W. Buckman, Jr. Memorial Symposium for Refractory Metals and Alloys
William “Bill” Buckman, a long-time TMS member, once noted that his career had “gone from outer space to inner space.” His comment reflected the breadth of his contributions to the understanding of refractory metals and alloys, with applications and patents credited to him that range from aerospace to medical technology.
A recurring theme in his work was defining ways that alloys could be successfully used. This symposium carries that theme, with papers examining such topics as creep and deformation, alloy development, and the applications and uses of refractory metals, as well as presentations reflecting on Buckman’s life and professional legacy.
Solidification, Crystal Growth and Microstructural Correlation with Properties of Materials: To Celebrate the 75th Birthday of Professor Martin E. Glicksman
Martin E. Glicksman, a 1994 TMS Fellow, is internationally known for his pioneering research in the fields of solidification, crystal growth, interfacial science, and microstructural evolution. This symposium will highlight his contributions to the field, with presentations on in-situ methods for observing dendritic growth and phase coarsening, kinetics of materials, diffusion in solids, the role of convection and diffusion on melting and solidification processes, and other important microstructural changes in complex materials.
Continuous Improvement of Academic Programs (and Satisfying ABET along the Way): Elizabeth Judson Memorial Symposium
As a member of the TMS Accreditation Committee and through her other professional pursuits, Elizabeth Judson was dedicated to continuously improving education. “This symposium reflects an important aspect of Beth’s life and work,” said Jeffrey W. Fergus, symposium organizer and chair of the TMS Accreditation Committee.
This year’s symposium will build on the success of the first Judson symposium held at MS&T’11, featuring talks from individuals involved in the accreditation process, including ABET staff and volunteers, to provide an insider’s view. These will be followed by a panel discussion with individuals from several universities, with ample time for dialogue and interaction.
For additional information on programming and registration for MS&T’12, go to the conference website.
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