What advice would you give to someone starting out in materials?
My advice to someone starting out in the field:Maintain the contacts and connections you made up to this point in your career. The materials community is a small one and so you will often find times where you reconnect with someone you met at a past event or engagement. These past interactions can be the spark new collaborations, job opportunities or ideas.
Periodically skim notable journals in your field for what topics are mentioned beyond those of which are directly in your field. This can lead you to see what topics are of emerging interest and give you ideas on where opportunities exist.
Share what you are currently working on with other researchers as you will often find commonalities and overlaps with others as well as opportunities for support and input.
For the budding materials scientist... remember that every company needs to utilize materials. They are at the core of everything. Stay connected in the materials community and you will go far!
My advice would likely be more useful to those considering graduate school. My experience has been focused on continuing my education through a 1-year acceleration program to receive a Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering after my bachelors. Based on my experience, I decided that continuing for a Ph.D. was the best choice. The professional relationships that formed and grew during the years had proved to open doors that I never imagined to be possible. My mentors, my peers, the techs shared the weight to achieve our goals in producing quality work and I found that inspirational. I had doubts along the way, but I pushed them aside, and we continued to make progress. My advice is to continue with graduate school if you love research and love to pass the knowledge forward. Achieving a higher education affects more than only you; there's your mentor, the people at home, and undergraduates looking for experience. If you're not sure, then celebrate your accomplishments, move forward and if the "itch" is still there then you can come back.
For either path you take, remember to be the person you would want to work with.
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