Supporting the MRS core value of being broadly inclusive and egalitarian, the Broadening Participation in Materials Subcommittee is committed to identifying strategies to promote diversity and inclusion within the broad professional community and sharing ideas and strategies that help support and encourage people who are currently underrepresented in materials science and engineering. Below are a variety of the Society's initiatives and activities which are designed to promote diversity and inclusion.
MRS Diversity Statement
The Materials Research Society recognizes that diversity drives innovation, excellence and new discoveries. We charge our membership and leadership to engage all demographic groups worldwide in advancing science and technology to improve the quality of life.
MRS Racism, Discrimination and Inequality Statement
The Materials Research Society is deeply saddened and disturbed by recent events that have brought to light the dangers of systemic racism, discrimination, and inequality, especially as they pertain to people of color. All scientists, and all people, should be able to live their lives and pursue their livelihood inside safe environments that welcome a myriad of perspectives and reject violence as a solution.
The Materials Research Society is dedicated to promoting diversity, egalitarianism, and inclusivity for all people, regardless of race, gender, orientation, or affiliation. We believe that bias and intolerance are not only unethical, but weaken our social fabric. We firmly believe that diversity strengthens the scientific enterprise and society as a whole. As an organization, we stand with those who promote inclusivity and seek to enable all of us to make valued contributions to improving everyday life for everyone.
Broadening participation in materials science and engineering
MS&T20 town hall addresses diversity, equity, inclusion
The materials science community is an exciting field that contains a plethora of opportunities depending on your specific interest. Yet for minorities and marginalized groups, accessing these opportunities can be difficult.
How do we build a community that welcomes, includes, and supports people from all walks of life? There are no easy answers, but starting a discussion is the first step.
ACerS, TMS, and AIST hosted a town hall during MS&T20 to talk about broadening participation in the materials science and engineering profession. The recording is now available on YouTube »
MRS Celebrated Global Diversity Awareness Month in October
Recognizing that diversity drives innovation, excellence and new discoveries, MRS hosted a number of virtual programs designed to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the materials community.
These programs gave members of our community the opportunity to listen and learn, as well as engage in the difficult conversations needed in order to build a truly diverse and inclusive environment.
Programming included everything from interviews, to keynote speakers, to interactive breakout discussions and more. We covered topics related to biases (hint…we all have them), imposter syndrome, barriers faced by women and underrepresented racial and ethnic minority scientists in both educational and employment environments, and perhaps, most importantly what actions we can all take today to embrace our uniqueness and celebrate our differences to ensure a more equitable world.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources
MRS Diversity Stats & Demographics (PDF)
Banish Imposter Syndrome for Good! Strategies and Tactics for Dealing with Self-Doubt
In this webinar, you will learn all about Imposter Syndrome—what it is, how it can limit your possibilities, and strategies to navigate and overcome these feelings in everyday scenarios.
Understanding Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) refers to unconscious beliefs or stereotypes that influence our actions and decisions when interacting with other people. In this webinar, you will learn the concept of unconscious bias, examine resources on how to identify their own biases, raise awareness of how unconscious biases work and how they can influence interactions in the workplace.
Intersections of Underrepresentation in Materials Science and Engineering
The MRS Women in Materials Science and Engineering working group explored real-life examples of bias and injustice against individuals from a diverse set of underrepresented groups. Through these examples, the panelists helped the audience reimagine how the negative situations could have unfolded in a more positive way and provide strategies that each of us can implement to create more accepting and inclusive environments. Our panelists shared their paths to their current careers, highlighting the ups and downs they have experienced, both pertaining to their membership in underrepresented groups as well as generally in the STEM fields.
MRS Bulletin: Diversity in Materials Science and Engineering Features
Recently, MRS published a series of articles on Diversity and Inclusion issues facing underrepresented minorities within the materials community. The MRS Bulletin: Diversity in Materials Science and Engineering series is freely accessible using the links below.
Diversity in Materials Science—A Discussion with Hugo Caicedo
Awards Committee Co-Chair Suveen Mathaudhu discusses some of the challenges and obstacles black scientists face in STEM with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University Fellow, Hugo Caicedo.
Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN) Library
MRS is proud to collaborate with APS, ACS, AGU and AAS to form the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN) Alliance, which aims to increase the participation of Underrepresented
Racial and Ethnic Minorities (UREM) in graduate studies, including the field of materials science and engineering. IGEN strives to share best practices for inclusive graduate education to faculty, administrators, and UREM students—a number of
tips, articles, publications and presentations can be found in their
Unconscious Bias Resources
Unconscious bias (or implicit bias) refers to unconscious beliefs or stereotypes that influence our actions and decisions when interacting with other people. Though we would like to believe that we are able to make our own, objective opinions and
judgements about our peers, we often fall short of these perceptions. Below are some resources to help us recognize and minimize our own implicit biases.
- Inclusion Starts With I
A video discussion around the importance of a positive, inclusive work environment.
- Matter of Fact Listening Tour: The Truth about BiasConversations about the relationship of race and privilege; racial stress; the impact of bias in the
images and language in our daily news and information; and the creation of stereotypes and how they influence the way we think.
Trainings and Evaluations
Programs & Activities
MRS UREM Student Science Writing Program
The MRS UREM (Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities) Student Science Writing Program offers students an opportunity to work with MRS Bulletin staff to develop communication skills and write MRS news articles, blogs, social media posts, or other communications. The Program is highly aligned with MRS’s Strategic Aspiration to engage members across generations to advance their careers and promote materials research and innovation. The Program also provides recipients with student membership in MRS and exposes them to both MRS staff and volunteers who can help them grow professionally as materials scientists, and remain active, engaged members of the materials community.
The MRS UREM Student Science Writing Program is made possible through a generous donation by long-time dedicated MRS member and volunteer Steven C. Moss. The Materials Research Society Foundation hopes to supplement this donation through a new MRS Diversity and Inclusion Fund, with the ultimate goal of establishing a permanent endowment once donations exceed $25,000. Tax-deductible donations to the MRS Diversity and Inclusion Fund are now being accepted, and will help provide these students with valuable skills and networking opportunities that will help them to navigate the next steps in their scientific education and careers.
The goal of the MRS Undergraduate Student Mentoring Program to increase the enthusiasm of underrepresented ethnic minority (UREM) and female students to pursue advanced degrees and careers in materials science and engineering. MRS pairs these students with graduate student or postdoc mentors who help them navigate the next steps in their education and career.
Prior to the start of the meeting, mentee students are matched with a mentor and connected virtually so that they can begin communicating in advance of the Meeting. At the start of the MRS Meeting, mentee and mentor pairs attend a breakfast or lunch program to network and explore establish mentoring guidelines as well as participate in a fun mentoring activity.
Throughout the week, they attend professional development sessions on topics such as poster design, science communication, resume and interview preparation, career paths, entrepreneurship, and many others. They then apply the skills they have learned during a poster competition where they have a chance to win the title of best mentee poster presentation. Mentees also have the opportunity to visit the MRS Career Fair and participate in mock interviews and resume critiques. Their mentor introduces them to professional contacts throughout the meeting, and they connect with graduate students and University Chapter leaders during the student mixer.
Past mentees have been selected through collaboration with programs such as NSF’s Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM), Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), Materials Research Science and Education Centers (MRSEC), Community Colleges, and other Minority Serving Organizations and Minority Serving Institutions that support UREM students. Graduate students and postdocs who would like to serve as a mentor and organizations who would like to learn more about how to get their undergraduate, UREM students enrolled as mentees in this program may contact us here »
MRS University Chapters include joint chapters with Sociedad Mexicana de Materiales (SMM) and the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS).
The Broadening Participation in Materials Subcommittee showcases various speakers and topics at the MRS meetings to support women in MS&E. Breakfasts are held at each Spring and Fall Meeting, and professional development workshops are held annually at the MRS Fall Meeting.
To better serve students and professionals from all technical and economic sectors of the worldwide materials community, individuals working or studying in developing countries are eligible for discounted electronic membership. Visit the Membership page for full details.
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