I chose to submit my candidacy for Vice President of the MRS based on one key factor: if elected, I feel I could be helpful in driving the vision of our society. My roots are in materials, and even as my own career expanded into new areas, I remained passionate about the field. One of the things that I appreciate most about the MRS is the way in which we bring together individuals across many disciplines with a unifying focus on materials. The different perspectives each of us brings to a challenge enables even better results than we can achieve on our own.
When I look to the next several years, I believe the MRS should focus on a few key areas. We need to build and deepen our strengths, such as improving the quality and impact of our technical publications, but we also need to do a few things differently.
First, we are in a different world than we were eight months ago, and we need to take this opportunity to examine how we operate in this “new normal”. Shelter-at-home policies around the world have shown us how we can effectively collaborate using technology. I believe my corporate experience will be a critical asset to the society as we determine a new model for meetings, taking full advantage of technology while still providing the collaborative environment, scientific dialogue and debate that is such a core part of the MRS. This is a great equilibrator that can allow stronger global participation in and between meetings.
Secondly, I believe my experience in leading industry consortia, as well as my academic advisory board participation, positions me to help strengthen our connection to industry. MRS membership is predominantly students, academia, and national labs. Yet, a significant portion of our student membership moves on to careers in industry. I would like to develop a strategy to tighten the bonds between the society and industry, increasing research connections and build a strong hiring pipeline for our members, including a focus on diversity. I believe by providing continuing benefit to members who move into industry, they will see the value in long-term engagement and membership, just as I have. As part of this, I’d strive for balanced leadership and committee membership, with individuals in all stages of their careers contributing to build our society for the future.
Thirdly, we need to maintain and build our materials advocacy voice across the globe. My significant experience and success in advocacy with policy makers globally, both with the MRS and in my professional roles, will help drive increasing recognition of the importance of materials research. This includes enabling new technologies that support our connected globe, and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. Specifically, I can directly apply my experience in leading supply chain sustainability for Intel to MRS initiatives in this area, aligned with industry and government priorities. Our membership can and should do our part in not only raising awareness, but also in showing what is possible.
By committing to these three areas it is my goal to continue, and expand, MRS’ ability to serve the international materials community into the next decade.