Ethan Lawrence, a materials science and engineering doctoral student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, studies the behavior of materials at the molecular level, but a few of the most important things he’s learned in the program are macro: networking and organizing are how you get things done, and research means nothing if you cannot communicate it.
A fourth-year doctoral student, Lawrence is a research assistant in the Electron Microscopy for Energy and the Environment Research Group. He and doctoral students from universities across the country have founded the Microscopy Society of America Student Council, and Lawrence was elected treasurer. The student council is helping build a community among the upcoming researchers who are the profession’s future leaders, he said.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is that networking is how you get just about anything done, whether it be funding for a grant or a finding job or research collaborators,” Lawrence said. “You can be the best scientist in the world, but if you can’t make connections, your work will suffer”, he explained, adding that the relationships students build through council will be important for the rest of their careers.
The student council will also provide opportunities for students to practice communicating their research and ideas. The council organized a student congress prior to the start of the society’s annual congress, Microscopy and Microanalysis in August, and is planning another for the 2018 meeting in Baltimore next August. In addition to his treasurer duties, Lawrence is organizing the networking and social events at the event.