Materials Research Science and Engineering Center

Graduate Student and Postdoc Resources and Opportunities

Brandeis MRSEC is committed to training and preparing their graduate students and postdoctoral associates for future careers in materials research.

As part of this training, they provide these scholars formal training in a MRSEC laboratory under the close supervision of a faculty member with opportunities for professional development, a required course in research ethics, and opportunities to teach and engage with younger students.

MRSEC Trainee Committee

The MRSEC Trainee Committee consists of MRSEC students and postdocs working to promote participation in the MRSEC and to organize career development workshops.

Summer Microfluidics Course

The MRSEC offers an annual short research course called The Introduction to Microfluidics. It is intended for graduate students, post docs, faculty and industrial scientists and engineers interested in utilizing microfluidic technology in their work, in both physical sciences and life sciences, and does not assume any specific prerequisites.

Science Communication Support

The MRSEC supports the Brandeis Science Communication Lab, a resource center that offers individual coaching, targeted workshops and a range of initiatives to support the MRSEC community with the skills they need to communicate the rationale, process and results of their incredible science to any audience in written, spoken or visual form. Any MRSEC member can make a coaching appointment to review their scientific work involving communication: posters, scientific talks, journal articles, resumes, fellowship applications and more.

Annual Video Competition

The MRSEC holds an annual video competition to share exciting MRSEC-related findings with the world. Winning videos are under 90 seconds, clear, accessible to non-specialists and convey the significance of Brandeis-MRSEC research to society. All videos will be linked to/associated with the BrandeisMRSEC YouTube channel.

Soft Materials Graduate Program

The MRSEC is partnered with the Soft Materials Graduate Program at Brandeis University to produce an immersive training program that prepares the next generation of material researchers. The Soft Materials Graduate Program provides the necessary background to investigate emergent phenomena in soft materials such as colloids, polymers and liquid crystals. Core courses include Biological Physics, Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics, Principles of Soft Matter  and Quantitative Biology Instrumentation Lab. Students who choose the Soft Materials track will receive a PhD degree in Physics with an additional specialization in Soft Materials, and then pursue research in the MRSEC.

Mentoring and Diversity Training

The MRSEC offers opportunities for graduate students and postdocs to mentor undergraduate students who are participating in the REU or SMURF Programs. This includes:

  • 10-weeks of intensive one-on-one mentoring of an undergraduate

  • Resources for communicating goals and expectations

  • Contributions to the group discussions on the elements of good summer research projects and excellent mentorship in the laboratory

  • A 90-minute workshop on “Inclusive Mentoring and Academic Belonging” in which the goals of the workshop are for participants to be able to:

    • Describe stereotype threat and growth mindset

    • Encourage re-attributions of difficulty

    • Encourage belonging based on effort and engagement

MRSEC Prize Instructorship

The MRSEC Prize Instructorship awards $6,000 to a MRSEC-affiliated postdoc or graduate student to design and teach a Brandeis University upper-division course during the spring semester. Proposed courses must be aligned with the goals and research of the center. Prize winners receive one-on-one coaching and support to help them develop and teach their course. The 2024 MRSEC Prize Instructorship was awarded to Dr. Danny Hellstein, who is teaching PHYS 159B - Programming in Physics for Spring 2024.

Presenting at Local and National Conferences

The Brandeis MRSEC encourages their graduate students and postdocs to attend local and national conferences and present their work. The Brandeis MRSEC co-organizes and hosts the longstanding New England Complex Fluids and Greater Boston Area Statistical Mechanics Workshops.