Materials science and nanotechnology students at the University of Alberta have recently joined more than 70 universities across the world in becoming members of the internationally known Materials Research Society (MRS).
The newly established MRS chapter at the U of A is the first in Canada and will set an example for other universities in the country to follow, according to its founding member.
Rokib Hassan, PhD student and president of the U of A MRS chapter, said it’s becoming increasingly important for students to get involved with these global organizations, as they help foster a sense of leadership in their fields.
“What happens is the (students can) boost their research and commit to working with the materials research or nanotechnology communities,” he said.
“They’re trying to create a field or a platform for their students, so that they can become more passionate to pursue their interests or their research in the areas of materials research or nanotechnology.”
The idea to establish a chapter at the U of A came to Hassan when he travelled to Cancun for an MRS conference and saw the types of schools that were represented — some of the largest, most prestigious American universities had established chapters, he said, but no Canadian schools.
“I was quite shocked when I went there,” Hassan said. “I started thinking, ‘Why not from Canada?’ We are just beside the U.S., and if the U.S. are leading all the (research), why not Canada?”
Hassan said when he began the process of founding the U of A chapter, he received positive responses from the community, quickly gathering interested undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members in a matter of weeks.
Going forward, the new chapter aims to host its own symposium next year, and eventually create undergraduate funding and a summer research program. Hassan said the chapter, like the ever-changing fields of nanotechnology and materials science, is looking to build the future.
“In the future, everything is coming up to the materials science and nanotechnology, if you think about making all the devices for your iPhone or smartphone,” he said.“Everything is coming into the materials science and nanotechnology (area).”