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New OSU-Tulsa materials research group to connect students with global network

Doctoral researcher Ranjan Singhal works to create two-dimensional materials for future electronics in a lab at the OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center.A new OSU-Tulsa chapter of the Materials Research Society will provide students an opportunity to develop leadership skills, network with professionals and keep up with advances in the field, said doctoral researcher Ranjan Singhal.

As the first MRS chapter in Oklahoma, he believes the new group will put OSU-Tulsa’s materials science program on the map.

“This is another step toward growing the program and letting people know about the materials science and engineering program at OSU-Tulsa,” said Singhal, who is chapter founder and president. “I believe it will put us on the national stage, if not the world stage.”

The Materials Research Society is a global professional organization dedicated to materials research. Its membership includes researchers from a variety of scientific disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, math and engineering as well as academia, industry and government.

Because materials science is an interdisciplinary field, Singhal said the group is open to any OSU students from any science or engineering program. Currently, 22 students have signed up as members.

“I personally feel undergraduates will get a lot out of being involved in the chapter because it will open their mind to new career possibilities,” Singhal said. “The group also will provide students valuable access to a global network.”

The materials sciences and engineering program trains students to design materials for use in a variety of industries, including aerospace, electronics, transportation, medicine and defense. Materials science and engineering focuses on the structure, properties and performance of metals, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, composites and biomaterials.

Membership helps students develop skills that employers seek

As the OSU materials science and engineering program continues to grow, students have formed OSU-Tulsa chapters of other professional organizations, including the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

According to the National Association for Campus Activities, students who participate in professional organizations are more marketable to employers. Employers consider these students more prepared for the workforce because of the professional skills they develop as an organization member.

Hasam Alshareef, materials science and engineering professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, left, presents the Materials Research Society chapter charter to OSU-Tulsa doctoral researcher Ranjan Singhal.The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently conducted a survey asking employers to rank skills they find most desirable when hiring college graduates. Employers said they generally favor college graduates who participated in professional organizations because they likely have developed these skills:

  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Organization and planning
  • Information processing
  • Data analysis
  • Technical knowledge
  • Proficiency with computer software programs
  • Create and edit written reports
  • Ability to persuade or influence others

Singhal said there are many benefits to individuals who join MRS. Group members have access to financial support to attend professional conferences, special project grants, webinars, professional speakers, research journals and bulletins as well as opportunities to network with students from other university chapters and professionals throughout the world.

Located in downtown Tulsa, the OSU-Tulsa Helmerich Research Center is home to the OSU School of Materials Science and Engineering.

For contact information and group descriptions, visit the OSU-Tulsa student organization website. For questions about membership, contact Singhal.