Throughout its history, MRS has provided an acclaimed platform for researchers and scientists to disseminate information on a global scale, creating positive impact for discovery, innovation, and commercialization of materials research. Through its diverse membership, MRS supports a robust global network for materials-based solutions, advancing wide ranging technologies for applications from information and communications technology to aerospace, biomedical, and consumer electronics that positively impact society and our quality of life. These achievements are a result of long-term initiatives based on the diversity and outreach of MRS that have strengthened the materials research community. I am excited to possibly join its board to help continue the growth of MRS and contribute to achieving its objectives and mission.
As MRS transitions from the recent pandemic challenges, it is crucial to continue engaging new participants by creating opportunities for its membership, especially young professionals and students, to form long-lasting relationships with the organization. While MRS consistently provides resources to help its members build strong connections for career development, enhance collaboration, and encourage scientific exchange, challenges remain, especially for international members attempting to define early career trajectories. For example, the recent immigration restrictions imposed by the U.S. have created significant barriers for collaboration and domestic employment, disproportionally affecting a large group of researchers. MRS possesses a unique capability that can help overcome these barriers by working with government agencies both in the U.S. and internationally. In the past, MRS has acted with other research societies to help alleviate taxes on tuition waivers for graduate students in the U.S., helping reduce their financial burdens. I would support broadening this advocacy to assist international students and researchers seeking opportunities both in the U.S. and globally. By leveraging its membership worldwide, and creating partnerships with other research and professional societies, MRS can help curb inequitable limitations at the national and international level, increasing opportunities for all researchers to enter the work force and expand new scientific collaborations.
MRS also has actively promoted industrial innovations and its commercial impact. Having been in industry and now academia, I see direct benefits for expanding the forum for industrial innovators and academic researchers to share ideas, technology development, and advance materials that improve the quality of life. I would support increasing the role of industry through MRS publications (such as Springer Nature and MRS Bulletin) to help share how innovations are transferred to relevant commercial applications. I would encourage industry participation in MRS strategic governance and increase their involvement in workshops in the Spring and Fall meetings to foster industry diversity and inclusion for women and underrepresented groups as well as young professionals and students.
Finally, the challenges of the pandemic demonstrated the potential of virtual meetings to engage the membership. This technology is not a replacement for in-person meetings but may be used to help breakdown economic barriers from travel costs, allowing a larger audience to remotely attend the national meetings. I support further exploring this opportunity, taking advantage of the experience from the past two years to expand interdisciplinary cooperation and inclusion through a unique and maturing medium to simultaneously reach larger and more diverse groups while attracting new participants.
Approaching its 50th anniversary, MRS has established itself as a world-leading society and authority for materials science, disseminating discovery and innovation while fostering new opportunities for engaging its members through scientific exchange and career development. If elected, I will use my experience in governance and management to work together with the officers, staff, volunteers, and members to ensure MRS continues to build on these achievements.