2011 SLC Retreat to Corning
|SLC leads MIRTHE students to Corning for Industry Exposure and Opportunity
By Phillip Braun, MIRTHE Special Projects Manager
This year's Student Leadership Council (SLC) annual retreat, which took place on November 19, 2011, brought a busload of MIRTHE students and post-docs to the Sullivan Park campus of Corning, Inc., a MIRTHE industrial partner.
Students from multiple MIRTHE institutions, including Princeton, UMBC, Texas A&M, and CCNY, gathered in Princeton for an early start to the facility. Upon arrival they were given an introduction to the company, which explained how Corning, over the course of its long history, had expanded and evolved into various areas of high-tech development and commercial production through a culture of innovation and far-sighted investment and research. This was followed by a Q&A session with a diverse panel of Corning employees from various disciplines, with various levels of experience, and with various perspectives on life in industry. Open discussion was continued during an informal networking lunch with the panelists. The visit concluded with a tour of three labs, each representing an area in which Corning has a research interest: semiconductor laser fabrication, optical fibers, and biological analysis.
The retreat was demonstrative of MIRTHE's commitment to not only involve industry in research feedback and technology transfer efforts, but also educate and train marketable emerging engineers, facilitate the transition from academia to industry for those wishing to pursue industrial positions, and provide a pool of highly-skilled potential employees to affiliated companies. Direct interaction between students and industry members enabled each group to become more familiar with the other, not only in terms of current research projects, but also on a more personal level; students were given a candid glimpse into industry life, both inside and outside of the office, and industry members were able to get to know prospective employees and collaborators.
The retreat thus served as a discernment opportunity for MIRTHE students who are deciding whether to pursue industry or academia after they complete their studies. In addition to events like these, MIRTHE encourages and facilitates internships with industrial members to give students exposure to industry, and industry exposure to talent. By bringing students from different disciplines and institutions together, the retreat also strengthened the collaborative, interdisciplinary network which defines MIRTHE, and which many students consider their favorite aspect of MIRTHE.
Though the retreat was relatively short, due to long travel time, students were very appreciative of the opportunity: