Diversity: the one thing we all have in common

Posted by
On May 1, 2022

Two students, a woman on the left and a man on the right, work in a ceramic engineering lab.

Doctoral student Paul Brune works in a ceramic engineering lab with undergraduate student Grace Epp. Photo by Michael Pierce, Missouri S&T.

Missouri S&T recently reported a record percentage of women students on the first day of classes – 24.2%, up from the previous record of 23.9% set in 2016 and 2021. Materials science and engineering at Missouri S&T has more female students in our ceramic engineering programs than any other engineering program on our campus. Over the past several years, as many as 62% of our ceramic engineering graduates have been female. The national average for ceramic engineering programs is 48% female – 35% female for materials programs overall. So, what makes the difference at Missouri S&T?

We do not specifically recruit for female students. Perhaps women are drawn to our program because of our compassionate faculty, staff and other students. In the past, graduating seniors have indicated they have enjoyed our small department size and the relationships developed in and out of class. We also have many female alumnae involved with outreach in the department, so female students can visualize themselves as a part of our program.  

In fact, several alumni are faculty and provide excellent role models for our students. Laura Bartlett, MetE’08, PhD MetE’13, is the Robert V. Wolf Associate Professor in Metallurgical Engineering and the Foundry Educational Foundation Key Professor. Her research involves development of lightweight ultra-high strength steel for use in military vehicles such as tanks and personnel carriers. She currently advises our American Foundry Society student group, promotes student design competitions and coordinates diversity outreach events and hands-on metallurgical engineering workshops for more than 200 high school and middle school students each year.

Kelley Wilkerson, CerE’07, PhD CerE’12, is heavily involved in recruiting and student success for our department and university as she leads the Jackling Introduction to Engineering Summer Camp, advises our Materials Advantage student group and co-teaches our senior design program.

Mary Reidmeyer, CerE’78, MS CerE’84, PhD CerE’89, has been active for years in outreach through her operation of the Missouri S&T’s Hot Glass Shop and advising the Gaffer’s Guild student group. In 2017, she received the inaugural Dr. Elizabeth Cummins Women’s Advocate Award at S&T.

Arezoo Emdadi, PhD MSE’18, is an assistant professor whose work is focused on computational materials science.  She works on initiatives in the steel sector, additive manufacturing with metals, and ceramics that can withstand extremely high temperatures. She recently won a grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory to measure and model structural damage in ceramic matrix composites at various length scales.

Diversity within the department extends beyond gender. We have faculty and students from all parts of the globe, from South America to Asia to the Middle East, Europe and beyond. The materials science and engineering department celebrates our rich diversity and looks forward to welcoming future faculty, students and staff from all walks of life.

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On May 1, 2022.

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