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Small, yet dedicated group of materials science majors represent CWRU at convention in Houston

Rachel Craft

Issue date: 10/29/10 Section: Focus
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Materials science majors from CWRU represent in Houston (with their hotel owner's pet rabbit, nicknamed Misty.)
Materials science majors from CWRU represent in Houston (with their hotel owner's pet rabbit, nicknamed Misty.)
[Click to enlarge]
Case Western Reserve University's materials science department is probably the smallest in the engineering school, with fewer than ten majors per class, and it doesn't get much press. There are certainly advantages to having such a small department: classes are smaller, it's easier to get involved in research, and you get to know your professors better. You also get to know your peers extremely well - you take the same classes, you agonize over the same lab reports, and, in our case, you stay in the same hotel rooms (and fight over the weak Wifi).

This year, roughly 20 percent of the materials department's undergrads (seven students, that is) spent their fall break in Houston at the national Materials Science and Technology conference. MS&T is one of the year's biggest materials science events, hosting hundreds of students, professors, scientists, and industry professionals from around the world. It was also our first professional conference, so we weren't sure what to expect.

The trip to Houston was itself an adventure. We met outside the dorms around 3:45 a.m., left campus on the 4:15 RTA train, and took off from the airport at 6 - and only one of our number was pulled aside for a full-body scan. We stayed in a small, family-run hotel - the cheapest we could find - which turned out to be quite pleasant. However, most of our time was spent in the conference center getting the full MS&T experience. There were several events geared for students, including a Q&A session on graduate school and an expo hosting dozens of employers,such as GE, Corning, Nucor Steel, and the Department of Energy. Many were accepting résumés for internship, co-op, and full-time positions. We proudly sported Spartan blue at the MS&T student social, and enjoyed wine and cheese with several of our professors at the CWRU alumni reception. We left the conference with markedly improved networking skills, not to mention numerous business cards.
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