Minna Krejci

Minna Krejci

Graduate Research Assistant
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL, United States
Minna Krejci
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Answers by Minna Krejci

Hi Selena!
There are often many different paths that you can take to reach a certain career destination. For example, if you want to design prosthetics, you most likely have a number of options for how to get there. However, there are certain considerations that you can keep in mind to give yourself the best chances.
So my short answer is that yes, you could probably get a job designing prosthetics with a degree in materials engineering. But here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you can, try to find a materials engineering program that offers a certification or specialization in biomedical, or that offers coursework focused on that area. At the very least, if you pick a school with a strong biomedical program, even if your degree is in materials, you would probably have some good resources at your disposal to gain experience in that area.
- Alternatively, some schools have biomedical engineering programs where you can specialize in materials science (even though your degree would be in biomedical). 
- In whatever program you end up in, try to meet people who specialize in prosthetics if you can. See if you can work in their lab, or talk to them about coursework options, etc. It's often just as (or even more) important that you make the right connections to help lead you on the right path than pick the right major. 
Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!
Minna Krejci
PhD, Materials Science and Engineering


Dear AC,

I think it's great that you're thinking about this now!  Many people don't think about this until it's too late and they're already trying to find a job.

The short answer is "all of the above."  The broader you cast your net, the more opportunities you're likely to catch! 

Here's some more specific info from my own experience:

- Talking to professors: When I was studying Materials Engineering in college, I had a few internships during the summers.  In every case, a professor helped me get the job in some way.  In some cases, they knew of a contact in industry who was looking for a good student intern, so all I needed to do was ask!

- Internships: Following up on the point above - internships are a great way to get your foot in the door with a certain job/company.  It's a great low risk, short-term way for a company to see how you'll do - if you do well, there is a good chance that they'll ask you to come back for a more permanent position once you're ready!

- Applying to job postings: The first job I got out of school was actually through applying to a job posting online. It's not usually the most effective job search technique, since there can be hundreds of people applying for the same job.  But it does work in some cases!

- Using your network: This is probably the most important.  You pointed out that you couldn't find many job postings online - this may be because many positions are being filled by companies reaching out directly to people they think may be right for the job.  (I got my second job this way.)  Employers may prefer this approach to opening up the job posting to the broader public and having to sort through hundreds of applications.  The most important thing is just to make a good impression on everyone you meet, and it's always possible that they'll end up helping you out sometime in the future!

So in summary, don't be discouraged by not seeing many postings online.  There's plenty of other ways to get a job!  Just focus on meeting lots of people and making good connections while you're in college!

Minna Krejci
PhD, Materials Science and Engineering

Hi Emma, I usually think it's great to be able to work with a team on a project. However, there can be difficulties sometimes - I'd say the hardest part of working with other team members would be dealing with the different work styles and personality styles of all of the team members. Everyone is different, and so every team needs to develop a specific way of working together so that each team member gets to contribute to the project to the best of their ability. It can take a bit of work to figure out exactly how the team should operate - for example, one team member might like to talk a lot and bounce ideas off of other people, while another might be more quiet and prefer to share her ideas only after she's had a lot of time to sort them though. Just as every person is different, every team is different, and needs to work together to figure out how to be the most effective. There is also the possibility of being an engineer and working on a team with non-engineers. The non-engineers might have slightly different goals or objectives than the engineers, and it's important that everyone communicates to make sure they're all on the same page! Best regards, Minna Krejci PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering Northwestern University