MA is an organization that tries to encourage its members to grow in areas which are not focused on in the classroom. Personal growth is an important area in any field, but professional development is vital in the engineering disciplines.
As a part of MA, members have the chance to listen to representatives from industry and academia speak about their lives, projects, and companies at each monthly meeting. This upcoming semester, the speakers come from the ISU Materials Science and Engineering Department, Precision Casting Company, Rolls Royce, and Alcoa. These meetings can also be used to network with representatives for future jobs, internships, and research opportunities. In addition to the monthly meetings, sessions are set up around the career fair in order to facilitate communication between students and companies who are interested in hiring materials engineers for full time employment, internships, and co-ops.
Members are also encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to visit manufacturing and research centers. Every semester industry tours are held: one overnight, two-day trip and several local hour long tours. This past semester students were able to visit the Twin Cities area and see International Paper, Anchor Glass, and 3M in addition to the Mall of America and Spam Museum. These trips are a great way to network with industry and also with students who are in different classes than you.
The final item MA focuses on under professional development is conference attendance. This is especially important if you are interested in pursuing a higher degree or if you want to learn more about modern research areas and techniques. Students are encouraged every year to attend MS&T (Materials Science & Technology), TMS (The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society), and CVD (Congressional Visit Days). More conferences are supported by MA depending on student interest, but each one is an opportunity to travel and stay in a new city for three to four days and learn about exciting research and participate in poster and presentation contests. This is also a unique way to network with undergraduates and professors from different universities.