A group of materials science and engineering students will travel to Portland, Oregon, later this month to participate in the national Materials Science and Technology (MS&T) conference.

The seven undergraduates from WSU’s student chapter of Material Advantage will participate in competitions, presentations, and a poster session at the weeklong event, which annually sees about 3,200 attendees from both industry and academia. Several faculty and graduate students from the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering will also attend.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students as they get ready to begin their careers,” said Scott Beckman, advisor for the Materials Advantage chapter and an associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.  The conference will allow the students to network with future colleagues as they develop their presentation and design skills.

“Our field of study is very close knit, and these are the people who they’re going to be working with the rest of their lives,” he said.

In one of the competitions, the students are designing and building a geodesic dome, which will undergo compression testing. They will also participate in a ceramic mug drop. Because all the components for the competition have to be homemade, the students get the chance to hone their skills in processing and manufacturing, said Beckman.

Travel to the national conference is made possible by chapter fundraising. The students last year sold 3D-printed keychains and laser-engraved wine glasses that they manufactured. They have also applied for support from the Associated Students of WSU.