PUI/MRSEC Collaboration to Create Opportunities for Women in Materials-Research


This three-year collaboration between a predominately undergraduate women’s college (Simmons College) and a NSF-supported Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR)) focuses on establishing a collaborative Simmons/Cornell research program that provides opportunities for students to work with faculty on timely research projects, have access to sophisticated instrumentation, and gain related work experience in industrial settings. To interest women in participating in materials-related research and to encourage them to consider further career exploration in this area, the secondary goal of the project focuses on augmenting women’s undergraduate experience. In this regard, the project uses the PUI/MRSEC collaboration to enhance the undergraduate curriculum at Simmons and encourage new Ph.D.s in materials-related disciplines at Cornell to consider academic careers at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs).

To provide opportunities for students to work on research throughout their undergraduate careers, this program focuses on studying the degradation processes in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs). These materials are currently of great interest for display applications, and an understanding and control of the degradation processes could ultimately influence their use in various types of consumer products.

To widen science students’ exposure to materials science, a new minor in materials was developed and materials science topics are being incorporated into physics and chemistry courses. To encourage students to consider graduate or industrial careers in materials science and to ease the transition into these large research environments, CCMR will place students in summer industrial jobs and REU positions. To provide students with further access to sophisticated instrumentation, a portion of the laboratory requirement for the new minor in materials will be co-taught during the summer by Simmons and Cornell collaborators at CCMR’s Shared Experimental Facilities. Cornell’s graduate students will participate in the program as mentors for Simmons undergraduates and will visit Simmons to better understand postgraduate teaching careers at PUIs.

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Correspondence to Velda Goldberg.

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Goldberg, V., Kaplan, M. & Soltzberg, L. PUI/MRSEC Collaboration to Create Opportunities for Women in Materials-Research. MRS Online Proceedings Library 760, 47 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-760-JJ4.7

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