Materials student co-authors article on students’ perception of materials education

Liangfa -huLiangfa Hu, a fourth-year graduate materials science and engineering student, co-authored an article in the June/July 2014 issue American Ceramic Society Bulletin analyzing results of a survey of students and recent graduates with ceramics research or interest of their impressions of their education to provide insight on successes and areas for improvement.

Liangfa is chair of the American Ceramic Society’s President’s Council of Student Advisors, as well as president of the TAMU chapter of Material Advantage student organization. Co-author of the article is Bradley Richards, a graduate student at University of Virginia.

Analysis of the survey results revealed that students studying ceramics “believe their education in terms of ceramics has been broad.” They perceive considerable demand for materials scientists in the job market, and increasing demand for ceramicists. “Many have interaction with materials- and ceramics-related programs, and about half have had an internship or co-op. This implies an awareness of ceramics and considerable perceived value in the field, although focused education in ceramics may be lacking, particularly for undergraduates,” the authors observed.

Most survey respondents had considerable experience with technical oral presentations, a skill the authors believe is valuable regardless of career path. About 40 percent of undergraduates surveyed intend to pursue graduate study, and about 25 percent intend to pursue careers in academia, but more than 50 percent see their future in private industry as a materials scientist.

Link to the article in American Ceramic Society.