[Image above] Credit: Jessica Rimsza
Jessica Rimsza understands the value of getting involved in a professional society. She joined ACerS when she was studying materials science as a Ph.D. student at the University of North Texas.
“I was looking for a community of other graduate students with the same technical interests,” she recalls in a recent phone interview. “A student network that would help me technically in understanding the scientific community, and how I would fit into it as a graduate member.”
Rimsza decided she wasn’t just going to be a member in name only. “I was looking for ways to become more involved with leadership opportunities in ACerS,” she adds.
So she dove in feet first and never looked back. Rimsza was selected as a delegate for the President’s Council of Student Advisors (PCSA), a student-led ACerS committee that represents the interests of ceramic and glass science students. During her time in PCSA, she served as programming chair, where she ran the creativity competition, helped with fundraising efforts, and helped organize PCSA’s annual meeting. When she moved up to PCSA chair, she ran its annual meeting and provided regular updates to ACerS board of directors.
Rimsza helped launch ACerS Global Graduate Researcher Network (GGRN) and eventually met more scientists through meetings and symposia she attended. The more people she met, the more comfortable she felt as she developed more personal and professional relationships in her field. “I feel more confident proposing and organizing my own symposium now,” she says.
Rimsza is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., where she focuses on fracture and surface science of amorphous oxides and silicate interactions of nanoconfined electrolytes.
Her ACerS experience was invaluable in helping Rimsza develop professional relationships. “The best thing I got from GGRN and ACerS was feeling more comfortable and connected in interacting with the ceramic and glass community,” she adds, “especially in networking with technical experts outside of my field. I feel like I’m more a part of the community.”
And what advice would she give to ceramic- and glass-focused graduate students who are considering joining GGRN?
“Be confident in yourself, and be willing to step outside your comfort zone,” Rimsza advises. “Think of GGRN as an opportunity to continue to develop your skillset beyond the undergrad level, so when you graduate you feel prepared to take on larger leadership roles.”
“It’s important to feel like you have a home in the scientific community. If you plan to continue in research or a technical capacity, then ACerS and GGRN is a great option for that.”
ACerS Global Graduate Researcher Network (GGRN) is an international membership of ceramic- and glass science-focused graduate students who are interested in professional development opportunities. GGRN provides tools and educational resources to help members advance in their careers. For more information about GGRN’s benefits, visit ceramics.org/GGRN.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.
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