The CDCM Industry-University Nexus will pair Center graduate students and postdocs with an industry or other professional mentor. The goal of this relationship is to expose Center participants to the importance of fundamental research as it relates to economic and societal development. CDCM’s professional development activities, such as participation in I-Corps through the Entrepreneurial Greenhouse, will be designed to enable student-mentor pairs to build lasting relationships. A one-day Industry-University Nexus Workshop will be held annually in which CDCM students present their research to the team of industry mentors, and the relationship between companies and universities is explored. Potential topics include intellectual property and licensing, the role of faculty and students in university spin-outs, the role of industry affiliates programs, and international partnerships. Workplace inclusion and equity will be key topics in the program. Metrics will include numbers of participating students/fellows and mentors including women and URM’s, and numbers of spin-outs, patents, and licensing agreements.
Industrial Mentorship Program 2023-2024
The Center for Dynamics and Control of Materials is kicking off our sixth year of our Industrial Mentorship Program. We are partnering with Texas State Center for Intelligent Materials Assembly (CIMA) through our NSF PREM Partnership.
The Industrial Mentorship Program starts in October at the Industrial Mentorship Kick-Off event and then continues as mostly one-hour monthly meetings virtually, or by phone, until early May. During these calls/meetings, industry mentors will work with students on specific topics of interests as set by the student and could include some of the following topics below. If schedules, travel regulations allow, and interest exists we also encourage mentees to schedule site visits of their mentors’ companies to enable them to gain a broader perspective of that particular industry.
A closing program will be held in early May as a way to bring industry mentors, mentees, faculty, and staff together to highlight the successes of the program and provide feedback for future years. While participation in the closing program is encouraged, it is not a requirement.
Examples of Monthly Mentoring Meeting Topics
- Map the next steps in their career
- Identify job opportunities
- Work with them on interpersonal skills and professional communication
- Provide perspective on industry trends
- Review their resume and/or CV
- Practice interviewing
- And any other topics of interest
We have had five successful years with over 90 graduate students and post docs matched with PhD level staff at various companies across the country. Over 20 students have received travel grants to visit their mentors at 3M, Dow Chemical Company, Intelli Epi, Lam Research, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Micron Technology, Inc, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Tesla, and Sandia National Labs.
“It has been a great experience for me. I would encourage making this available to other grad students anytime. …. it is hard to find people up there (professors, industry experts) who have genuine interest in your success and who do not approach you with some form of implicit bias. [My mentor] is a very fine person: candid, humble, and simple. I am glad I met him.” – MRSEC Student
“The biggest impact is the simplicity, humility and authenticity of my mentor. They were very approachable and respectful. This has bolstered my confidence in many ways. He has also helped me understand what kind of industry career opportunities I may want to consider exploring.” – MRSEC Student
I was able to see the advanced facilities and how the groups work together. I gave an invited talk and met with many investigators who I discussed potential collaborative work with for my summer internship. – Jennifer Imbrogno (working with a mentor at Sandia National Labs)
It really gave me a more concrete idea of what working in industry after the PhD would be like. I got to tour the facilities and meet with employees (most of them have PhDs) at different stages in their careers (2-5 years out of the PhD, 10-12 years at Dow R&D, manager, technical fellow, director). – Camila Saez (working with a mentor at Dow Chemical Company)