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Material Advantage At Iowa State: A Case Study For Student Pre Professional Society Success

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Professional Development in Materials Engineering

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.867.1 - 13.867.11



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Paper Authors


Michael Kessler Iowa State University Orcid 16x16

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Michael Kessler is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. His research interests include the mechanics and processing of polymers and polymer matrix composites, thermal analysis, fracture mechanics, and biologically inspired materials.

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Emily Merrick Iowa State University

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Emily Merrick is an undergraduate Materials Engineering student at Iowa State University and the president of the Iowa State chapter of Material Advantage, the ACerS-AIST-ASM-TMS pre-professional society for materials engineering majors and those interested in materials science and engineering.

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Lawrence Genalo Iowa State University

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Larry Genalo is Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University. He served as Chair for the Freshman Programs and DELOS Divisions, and runs the Toying with Technology Program at Iowa State and the recruitment program in the Materials Science and Engineering Department.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Material Advantage at Iowa State: A Case Study for Student Pre- professional Society Success


For four years in a row, the Material Advantage student society at Iowa State University (ISU) has been selected as the nation’s Most Outstanding Chapter. This paper examines, as a case study, the activities and programs of the chapter at ISU, with implications to other student pre- professional societies. Activities have included plant tours, technical meetings and seminars, special events, joint meetings, community involvement, fundraising, and participation in various technical conferences. In addition, the results of a survey are presented aimed at identifying the factors that most contribute to the society’s success at ISU.


Professional societies play an important role in the training and continuing education of scientists and engineers. These societies are also beneficial to the career progression of their members by providing networking and professional service opportunities.1 Typically, engineers are first exposed to professional societies as college sophomores or juniors through pre-professional student chapters of the society, where students are able to join at substantially reduced fees and participate in a variety of networking, project, and service experiences.2 Most often, students continue their membership upon graduation from college and as a way to stay abreast of the changes in their field and enhance their professional and technical capabilities.3

At universities, active student pre-professional societies can greatly enhance the engineering curriculum. Reid and Tiltrum4 noted several ways that this enhancement takes place in engineering departments, including: • exposure to the practice and breadth of engineering, • networking for internships and post graduation employment, • development of teamwork, communication, and leadership skills, and • promotion of service to the profession.

They also suggested several factors that were considered critical for student pre-professional society success: • outstanding student leaders, • involvement of underclassmen, • institutional support, • active program, • attendance at parent society activities away from campus, • active advisor, and • adequate funds and fund raising activities.

Material Advantage, with more than 75 local chapters at top materials science and engineering universities globally, is a student program for Materials Engineering students. Material

Kessler, M., & Merrick, E., & Genalo, L. (2008, June), Material Advantage At Iowa State: A Case Study For Student Pre Professional Society Success Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4344

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