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Graduate Program

Graduate Students:  In order to function effectively in an interdisciplinary group graduate students must meet two basic goals;

  • The students must have both a detailed knowledge of their field of expertise as well as a broad knowledge of all elements involved in the interdisciplinary group effort. 
  •  The students must develop excellent communication skills which allow them to effectively describe their work to others with a wide variety of backgrounds.

The educational experience must be sufficiently diverse to allow the student to make informed decisions regarding future careers in academia or industry. 

In order to achieve these goals the students are encouraged to attend national meetings, present frequently to the group, interact with faculty members and students from other disciplines, and learn to mentor younger students and manage projects. 

Nearly all graduate students attended and presented their research either in oral or poster sessions at the MRS meeting in Boston, last fall. All student who graduate from the program have been first authors on at least one significant manuscript. Most of the students participated in the various high school and undergraduate outreach programs, mentored younger students, and participated in science outreach programs to schools, museums, and more recently senior citizens centers. 

An important metric in evaluating our program is the number of graduate students who are granted advanced degrees in a timely manner and are able to find employment commensurate with their training within a year of graduation.

Post Doctoral and Research Associates: Mentoring of post doctoral associates is another priority of our center, since the post doctoral period is one of the most crucial times affecting permanent career paths. Post Doctoral associates in our center are treated as junior faculty and are provide both mentorship, and independence. They are encouraged to attend proposal writing workshops, given matching funds and encouraged to write proposals. They are permitted to mentor graduate and sit as examiners on their thesis committees. Recently we have also encouraged post docs to take the lead in industrial projects so that they can make informed career choices. 

Post docs are usually appointed as research team leaders, where they supervise the graduate students, undergraduate students, teachers , and high school students assigned to a project. In this capacity the post doc learns leadership and mentorship skills that will provide the competitive edge in finding employment. In order to have these activities appear officially on their resumes post-docs are also allowed to apply for adjunct faculty status within the department of their choice. They can then be listed co-advisors for the graduate students, instructor for courses etc. 

Listed below is the list of post-docs affiliated with our center whose contracts termed in 08-09 and their place of current employment. As part of an exit survey, we asked them which part of their post doctoral experience helped them most in obtaining their current position; Chunhua Li credited this experience, together with her association with Estee employees, for her employment at L'Oreal. Yzhi Meng and Vladimir Jurukovsky who were both adjuncts in the Department of Materials Science, said that their research projects, together with the experience in teaching helped them find tenure track positions.


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