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May 14, 2024

MSE graduates look to the future with diplomas in hand

Four new alumni share their plans

Spartan Engineers Emily England, Nicole Kelly, Jack Martin, and Xavier Lewis recently graduated from Michigan State University with bachelor’s degrees in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE).

Now they are headed in different directions.

Professional Headshot of Emily England
Emily England

England is pursuing a doctorate in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University. She specializes in biomaterial application and is particularly interested in improving the materials used for implants or bio-adhesives.

The former president of the MSE Society at MSU has been involved in research since her first year on campus. She became an undergraduate research ambassador her junior year and looks forward to a future in research.

“I've really fallen in love with the process of doing research, having a question, and going down all these rabbit holes to answer it,” England said. “I love the way that I'm able to really nurture my curiosity in the research space, and so I would like to go into research as a career, preferably in industry.”

Professional Headshot of Nicole Kelley
Nicole Kelley

Kelly will be an associate engineer for Unilever, which is a multinational consumer goods company. Her job will be to manage a portfolio to help innovate its packaging and go through testing, then compare it to what’s in the marketplace.

The former social media chair for MSU Women’s Rugby Football Club and member of the MSE Society graduated from MSU with a second degree in packaging. She said she is glad she doubled up on the two majors.

“I really liked the technical side of materials science and the challenge that it brought,” said Kelly. “Packaging is very practical. I like to be able to see those concepts translate into physical things.”

Professional Headshot of Jack Martin
Jack Martin

Martin will be working as a materials and process engineer for Piper Aircraft, which is a manufacturer of general aircraft. His job will be to support the production line, especially if issues occur. He’ll also spend time researching and developing materials that can improve planes.

A former member of the MSE Society and treasurer of the MSU Swim Club, Martin said getting involved at MSU early helped him land his position in industry.

“You really have to put yourself out there, join clubs, and go to career fairs,” he said. “There are many club and leadership opportunities that build you up professionally, then you can list them on your resume. That way you’re able to show people you have experience.”

Professional Headshot of Xavier Lewis
Xavier Lewis

Lewis will pursue a master’s in materials science and engineering through the MaMaSELF (Master in Materials Science powEred by Large scale Facilities) program at the University of Rennes in France. The program is an Erasmus Mundus, which is a cooperation between different nations, primarily European, that allows students to study at multiple universities.

The former education chair for the MSE Society and vice president of the Spartan Sierra Club, Lewis graduated with a second degree in Chinese. He attributes his successes to building a community within MSE.

“Being able to develop a community with the MSE group helped me really get to know people and develop that strong cohesive friend group,” Lewis said.



Reflections on the Spartan Experience

“One of my favorite memories,” England said, “has been the ability to go abroad and do research in Spain, make a lot of connections, and learn lots of new skills. Seeing how all these scientists and engineers were interacting, working toward the same goal and really cultivating community-centered discovery, helps fuel my desire to go into grad school.”

“I would say that one of my favorite memories was the spring break corporate tour through the College of Engineering my freshman year,” said Kelly. “I was able to get my foot in the door and see what engineering was all about, and network with a bunch of MSU alumni and be with 20 other young engineers trying to figure out what we wanted to do.”

“I would say Design Day was one of my favorite memories,” said Martin. “Our projects were a failure analysis project, where each person brought something that failed and we had to figure out where it went wrong. I really enjoyed being able to spend hours together in the lab working on a project, then getting to see everyone present their best work.”

“Studying in Taiwan last summer through MSU was one of my favorite memories,” said Lewis. “It blended two things that I love, education and travel, which left me with a strong impression that motivated me to apply abroad for grad school.”

Options for Materials Science and Engineering Graduates

MSU students in the materials science and engineering major can choose concentrations in biomedical materials engineering, manufacturing engineering, metallurgical engineering, or polymeric engineering. Of the graduating MSE students who reported a destination after MSU, more than 73 percent of undergraduates are heading to jobs in industry, and 13 percent will be continuing their education. As materials scientists, engineers, and researchers, they will investigate the structure,properties, and processing of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, and then apply that knowledge to the design of new materials.

Current MSU research related to the discipline includes energy and sustainability, nanotechnology and materials, and biotechnology and medicine. Major research centers within the College of Engineering include the Composites and Materials Structures Center, one of the largest integrated facilities for polymer and composite research, and the Composite Vehicle Research Center, a center of excellence for designing and testing composite structures for lightweight, durable and safe vehicles.

Written by Maggie Dillon, a student writer and public relations assistant in the MSU College of Engineering Marketing and Communications office.