20:03 PM

Material Advantage Making an Impact

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Serving as an umbrella group for several professional societies, Material Advantage (MA) is the premier student program for materials science and engineering (MSE) students. The professional societies included under MA are; the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), Association of Iron & Steel Technology (AIST), The Materials Information Society (ASM International), and The Minerals, Materials and Metals Society (TMS). Membership to MA gives students access to these societies along with scholarships, internships, conferences and more that otherwise would not be available to them.

All MA memberships are generously sponsored by Ellwood Group. In addition to financial support, Ellwood also provides speakers on various topics during MA meetings and offers yearly facility tours to the MA group and also MEMS faculty. One Ellwood member particularly helpful to the MA group is Director of Steelmaking Technology, Dr. Brendan Connolly.  Brendan received his PhD in materials science from Pitt in 2016 and also currently serves on the MEMS Visiting Committee.

For their weekly MA group meetings, the current officers like to strike a balance between professional and social networking events. They recently held an ASM Pittsburgh Chapter new members night, and other social events have included game nights, collage building, scavenger hunts and more. On the professional side, MA holds skill-building MSE workshops, practice interviews, resume building classes and hosts professional guest speakers such as recent alumni and the Ellwood employees mentioned above. When a formal meeting is not scheduled, MA provides a space for MSE students to study and gather.

Perhaps the most important aspect of MA is community building. MSE students do not have MSE-specific classes (without other majors) until their junior year. The MA group help students find their peers and connect with younger members. Material Advantage also serves as the contact between students and faculty members, allowing the group to advocate for the general student body.

MA aims to increase awareness about this special group. Already, through open houses, tours and email communication, the group has helped to increase the MSE program by over 20 students in the past year. With the recruitment of more underclassmen, the MSE program is expected to grow and thrive even more.

Please contact the MEMS Department if you are interested in becoming a member or supporter of the Material Advantage group.