The Research Triangle MRSEC (RT-MRSEC) Industry Poster Symposium workshop took place in the Hunt library on NC State’s Centennial Campus on Feb 12, 2015. The goal of the symposium was to build bridges between academia and industry through an open forum between participating industrial panel members and the RT-MRSEC community. In addition, there was a poster presentation by RT-MRSEC graduate students that allowed them to showcase their research to the panelists. The RT-MRSEC leadership invited hosted four industrial panel members who have collaborated in the past with various academic institutions and were thus familiar with the way we conduct research in universities. The members of the industrial board were: Dr. Andrea Liebmann-Vinson, Director of BioSense, Becton Dickinson Technologies, Dr. Barclay Satterfield, Sr. Chemical Engineer, Eastman Innovation Ctr, Eastman Chemical Company, Dr. Damon R. Billodeaux, Visiting Scientist, Eastman Innovation Ctr, Eastman Chemical Company, and Dr. Timothy D. Fornes, Senior Staff Scientist, Chemical Research, Lord Corporation.
The symposium consisted of two sessions. In the first session, an open Q&A forum, the industry panelists provided basic insight into how industry operates, and outlined expectations (technical skills, professional development, team work, etc.) that are expected of new industry hires. The most important issues discussed during the forum included differences between industry and academia aspirations / careers; the skills private sector companies look for when recruiting; and how a PhD student might approach industry to seek employment. Students were advised to practice good communications skills, presentation of work/research, development of interdisciplinary and team-work skills, not be afraid to ask questions and to be succinct and right-to-the-point when communicating your ideas. The second session included a poster presentation by the RT-MRSEC graduate students which enabled them to communicate their own research to their colleagues, members of the industrial panel, as well as faculty members present at the event.