2018 MRS Fall Meeting Home

Career Development Summit

Session 1: Learning from Failure—How to Bounce Back Stronger
Wednesday, November 28
5:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Sheraton, 3rd Floor, Commonwealth
Session 2: Failure and Difficulties, a Path to Cutting-Edge Research, Panel Discussion
Wednesday, November 28
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Sheraton, 3rd Floor, Commonwealth

Achieving a successful career demands hard work and resilience, especially at the beginning. This Career Development Summit will provide strategies for young or future professionals to overcome difficult periods in their careers.


  • Isabel Gessner, University of Cologne
  • Monica Jung de Andrade, The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Maia Mombrú, Universidad de la República
  • Maria Eugenia Perez Barthaburu, Universidad de la Republica-CURE

Session 1: Learning from Failure—How to Bounce Back Stronger 

Andre PiazzaAndre Piazza

Professionals are becoming aware that the journey to success increasingly includes moments in which reality does not match expectations. Recent neuroscience findings shed light on how humans process those situations and open the door for us to act confidently and compassionately grow when faced with the inevitability of failure.

  • Can we mature our individual and collective emotions to where we process these situations more freely, learn in the process and come back willing to perform better as a team?
  • What if we could increase our ability to bounce back stronger from these situations?

This interactive, two-way presentation will challenge participants to do just that. You’ll learn:

  1. Defining failure and learning
  2. The Neuroscience findings on how humans learn
  3. Strategies to connect and influence others: the SCARF model
  4. The Drama Triangle: 3 roles we often use to tell stories ... and the issues involved in those narratives
  5. How cognitive reappraisal can improve individual and team's ability to connect and learn
  6. Leading change using these constructs: failure, insights, patterns, lessons, commitments
  7. A step-by-step process to make all these things happen, graciously

The summit is open to all attendees of the Fall Meeting. However, space is limited and preregistration is required.

RSVP for Session 1

Session 2: Failure and Difficulties, a Path to Cutting-Edge Research, Panel Discussion

This Panel Discussion convenes experts with diverse backgrounds to share their career experiences. Topics such as identifying a career path outside of academic research, identifying your key skills, transferable knowledge and experience will be discussed.

This session will include audience Q&A as well as real-time interactive audience polling, so bring your smartphone and be ready to participate in the conversation.  Networking reception to follow.

Space is limited and preregistration is required.

RSVP for Session 2


Isabel Gessner, University of Cologne

Isabel GessnerIsabel Gessner received her BS degree in chemistry (2011) at the University of Cologne. During her research stay at Flinders University, she focused on the topics of nanotechnology and toxicology. In 2014, she finished her Master's thesis in chemistry under the supervision of Professor Sanjay Mathur at the University of Cologne in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute forToxicology and Experimental Medicine. Following this, she started her PhD project in the research group of Professor Mathur on nanoparticle-based drug delivery applications that she will conclude in November 2018. Gessner was awarded the Young Researchers Award in Chemistry by the University of Cologne in 2015. She worked as a visiting research fellow at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS)  under the supervision of Professor Fiorenzo Vetrone, and received the Materials Innovation Award by the Materials Alliance Cologne and the Society for Surface Protective Coatings–India in 2018. Her research interests include the synthesis and modification of nanomaterials for biomedical applications. Gessner is currently the President of the MRS/E-MRS International Chapter in Cologne. She is also the founding member of The American Ceramic Society Germany Chapter. She has organized and supported symposia on Nanotechnology and Sustainability at the 2017 and 2018 MRS Fall Meetings.

Maia Mombrú, Universidad de la República

Maia MombruMaia Mombrú began her academic career in the Materials Development and Environmental Studies Group at Universidad de la República, when she was still an undergraduate studying materials chemistry. She obtained her BSc degree in chemistry and moved to the United Kingdom for a year after earning a Chevening Scholarship, where she received a MSc degree in nanoscience and functional nanomaterials from the University of Bristol. Back at Universidad de la República, she is pursuing her PhD degree in chemistry in the subject of semiconductor nanomaterials for technological applications. Mombrú is actively involved in materials science and technology teaching and outreach activities, for example as the President of the MRS University Chapter UdelaR in 2015–2016. With the University Chapter she won the 1st prize for the Sustainability in My Community Poster Exhibition event at the 2016 MRS Spring Meeting.


Matthew Eisaman, Stony Brook University, The State University of New York

Matthew EisamanMatthew Eisaman is an assistant professor at Stony Brook University, The State University of New York,  in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a guest appointment at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He received his AB degree in physics from Princeton University in 2000 and his PhD degree in physics from Harvard University in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, Eisaman was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  Prior to arriving at Stony Brook, he was an applied physicist in the Cleantech Innovation Program at Xerox PARC from 2008 to 2011.

Eisaman's research broadly explores applications of nanotechnology, and has included light trapping and antireflective surfaces for solar cells and detectors, new graphene doping methods and electrochemical membrane-based systems for CO2 capture. Eisaman spent 2016 on sabbatical at X (formerly known as Google[X]), where he led Project Foghorn, X's effort to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by developing a new type of liquid fuel created from seawater. He currently serves as an advisory board member for Carbontech Labs, part of the Center for Carbon Removal. Eisaman is the author of 29 peer-reviewed journal articles with over 3400 citations and holds 13 patents.

Elizabeth L. Fleischer, Materials Research Society

Betsy FleischerElizabeth L. Fleischer is Principal Development Editor for the Materials Research Society (MRS), responsible for commissioning or facilitating the commissioning of books, book series, journals, other new publications, and articles for existing MRS journals. Fleischer also helps grow and sustain key topical areas that intersect with materials such as artificial intelligence, biology, and quantum information through program development, publications and other activities. Previously, she was Editor of MRS Bulletin for 20 years.

Fleischer received her BSE degree from the University of Pennsylvania and MS and PhD degrees from Cornell University in materials science and engineering. She was a technical associate in the III-V Semiconductor Processing Group at AT&T Bell Laboratories. She was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow in 1989, writing for The Oregonian.

Sanjay Mathur, University of Cologne

Sanjay MathurSanjay Mathur is the Director of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Cologne. He is also the Co-director of the Institute of Renewable Energy Sources at the Xi'an Jiao Tong University and a world class university professor at Chonbuk National University. He also holds visiting professorships at the Central South University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER). His research interests focus on application of nanomaterials and advanced ceramics for energy technologies. He has authored/co-authored over 350 original research publications, holds several patents and has edited 13 books. Mathur is an academician of the World Academy of Ceramics. He is a Fellow of The American Ceramic Society (ACerS) and Association of Metals (ASM International), and also acts as the “International Ambassador” of the University of Cologne. He was an ASM International-Indian Institute of Materials (ASM-IIM) visiting lecturer in 2009. He received the Global Star Award of the Engineering Ceramics Division (ECD) of The American Ceramic Society in 2010. He has organized and chaired over 50 international and national conferences and symposia. He was awarded the Bridge Building Award of The American Ceramic Society in 2014 and the Lee Hsun Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Institute of Metal Research (2014). Mathur is also the recipient of the 2015 Surface Innovator Award given by AkzoNobel and the Society of Surface Protection and Paints.

Andre Piazza, Octanage

Andre PiazzaAndre Piazza is a student of business and a student of life. As a newly electrical engineering graduate, he started his career in R&D, transitioning to various roles in Engineering, Operations, Product Management, and Marketing in tech. Along the way, he experienced difficulties and setbacks, pushing him to research solutions for failure that professionals face on a daily basis. These findings provide the backbone for his dynamic session, Learning from Failure: How Pros Bounce Back Stronger, inviting every person to reflect on their own journey along the way. Say hello on Twitter @apiazza or LinkedIn.

Meifang Zhu, Donghua University

Meifang ZhuMeifang Zhu completed her PhD degree in materials science in 1999 at Donghua University (DHU) and Dresden University of Technology, and obtained her MSc and BSc degrees in chemical fibers at China Textile University (CTU) in 1988 and 1986, respectively. Since 1989, she has been assigned as a lecturer (1989–1992), assistant professor (1992–1994), associate professor (1994–1998) and full professor (since 1998) at DHU. Currently, she serves as the Dean of the College of Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE) and also the Director of the State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fibers and Polymer Materials (SKLPM) at DHU. Her current research interests focus on the chemistry, properties and applications of fiber materials, organic/inorganic hybrid nanomaterials, smart hydrogels and biomaterials for green energy, environment and health care.