What benefits have you taken advantage of in the past six months?
Scholarships, conferences, travel grants, and journals are the benefits most cited. Also mentioned were ResumeLink, Young Member nights, books, and other resources.
Have you applied for an ASM or TMS scholarship in the past year? What would encourage you to apply in the future?
The discussions emphasized that scholarships are of interest ot the students; however, it seems that there is little information and some misinformation disseminated to the students. Some suggested sending scholarship information to all members directly. There is some concern about the application process. Graduate students, in particular, noticed that there are not scholarships available for them.
Do you anticipate becoming a professional member of either society? What would encourage you to join as a professional?
Generally, the students are very aware of selecting a society based upon their career needs and the value they will perceive at that time. Scholarship awards from either society may have little or no effect on their decision.
Is your expectation of membership being met?
It is unclear from the focus group responses whetherthe students gave a great deal of thought into the process of joining.
Do you encourage others to join ASM and TMS? Why or why not?
Generally, the students eagerly encourage others to join based upon their own expectations (although they do not feel they had many expectations). They see membership as a medium within which to learn, reach out to other students, and gain industry contacts. Some students feel that because materials are a part of most engineering disciplines, it makes sense to reach out to other students; others feel that they do not want to lose their voice to a larger number of non-materials science and engineering students. Many students feel that the ASM/TMS joint student program caters to metallurgy, while there are other societies that are more highly specialized.
Why did you become a member?
Many of the students became members because it was encouraged or required by faculty members, which may be the reason that many did not have an expectation in joining but later found many benefits with which to encourage others. Graduate students take advantage of societies with whom they can publish articles. Some other incentives such as scholarships and financial incentives were also cited by students.
Does your chapter communicate with other student chapters? How frequently? Do you think this is a valuable connection?
Generally, none of the chapters interact with other student chapterssome because of time constraints, others because of location. All seem to think it would be a valuable connection and enjoy the interaction at Materials Week. Some suggestions for increasing contact were e-mail lists, contact information on the World Wide Web, and lists of conference attendees for roommate contacts. Some members have become involved with other student groups on their campus and have found that to be a valuable connection.
What role does the faculty advisor play in chapter activities and in communication?
Faculty advisors offer support, continuity, experience, and guidance, according to the responses. They are also considered valuable for their experiences in research and/or as a professional. Students feel that the advisor is a good connection for career information. Although the faculty advisor should be readily available, students can and want to run the chapter.
What would be the ideal chapter if you had no restrictions? What would make a chapter stand out in your mind?
Community service was brought up several times as an ideal chapter activity. The chapter should be a good resource for career information and experiences such as plant tours, industry contacts, and presentations as well as personal growth opportunities. Graduate students like the opportunity to attend conferences. There is a perception that chapters are stronger when more students are involved.
Has your chapter participated in a materials design competition? What would motivate you to participate in a competition?
Timing, communication, and involvement appear to prevent students from getting involved in this particular competition.
Are you aware of membership programs available to individuals and chapters? Do you plan to participate?
Information on programs does not seem to reach the general membership. It seems to be the individual's responsibility to pay attention to programs that are promoted.
Does your chapter compete in the Chapters of Excellence Program? Why or why not? What would you change in the program?
Again, there appears to be a lack of information on this program among students.
Does your department support/encourage travel to conferences?
There is a distinction between graduate and undergraduate students' responses in this area. Graduate students tend to focus more on the conferences and ways of funding travel to these meetings.
Where do you go for career information or employment sources?
Obtaining career information seems to be a self-directed process. Information is generally available through the central campus career services offices and through many individual departments. Some chapters have put together listings focusing on materials science and engineering.
Why did you choose materials science and/or engineering as an area of study?
Many students discovered materials science and engineering through general engineering courses once they were in college. They felt more needs to be done to reach high school students.
Is there an organization or association that you like best? Please explain.
No organization stood out in the comments. Most were focused on ASM/TMS and discussed perceptions on their own campuses.
What other societies do you belong to and how did you choose them?
Students seem to join societies based upon immediate benefits (cost, job information, technical information) and what is readily available to them. A broad background is perceived as valuable, and ASM/TMS is perceived by some of the students as essentially pertaining to structural materials.
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