• Eisenman Materials Camp, 2010
• Materials Engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory
• Volunteer / Junior Mentor, Eisenman Materials Camp
It was mid-way through my junior year of high school, and I had recently decided – thanks to an engaging physics class—that I would pursue a degree in engineering. I had yet to choose what type, though, so when I applied to go to the 2010 Eisenman Camp I was making a conscious effort to expose myself to different branches of engineering. The experience I had that week was pivotal in setting me on the path to materials engineering. The case study I worked on was straight out of industry, making it not just "realistic" but real. I loved being able to use the equipment first-hand, to interact with professionals in the field, and work with a group to immerse myself in a problem. In a matter of five days, I was hooked on the versatility, practicality, and breadth of opportunity materials science and engineering offered.
If I left Cleveland feeling like materials engineering was a great idea, being asked to serve as an American ambassador to the French materials camp in Clermont-Ferrand the next summer sealed the deal. I had never traveled out of the country, never been inside an airplane, and I had never even imagined myself having the opportunity to give part of our final presentation—in French—to an audience of native French speakers. Little did I know that my ASM adventure was not yet finished. Later that summer, one of my peers (and now fellow Ohio State alumni, Rachel Sylvester) and I half-jokingly asked if we could just keep going to materials camps forever. We were surprised to hear that the answer was yes. Since 2012, I have had the great honor and pleasure of serving as a mentor to the Eisenman Camp, where I am able to offer a youthful perspective of the prospects of a career in materials engineering. It quickly became obvious to me why mentors come back year after year; it is incredibly rewarding to help students develop a passion for something you plan on doing for the rest of your life. The students' awe and wonder regarding everything they learn that week is a powerful reminder of how remarkable the field really is.
My initiation to the materials world through the ASM Materials Education Foundation inspired me to pursue a degree in materials science and engineering and a career in failure analysis. While an undergraduate student, I was a member of Ohio State's Material Advantage for four years. I was fortunate to spend 3 years as a student researcher in the Impulse Manufacturing Laboratory under Dr. Glenn Daehn, working on testing and development of high speed forming and joining techniques. After two summers doing aerospace failure analysis for the Navy in Jacksonville, Florida, I decided to stay closer to home and continue in the federal service as a civilian materials engineer for the Air Force after graduation. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to serve our country by helping to protect the Air Force's greatest resources—our airmen and our fleet.
The Eisenman Camp, and all of the knowledge, relationships, and excitement that came with it, were pivotal in shaping my future as a materials engineer. I am eager to continue to be a part of this wonderfully supportive ASM community!