You have an amazing opportunity to join one of over a thousand student organizations at Texas A&M. As someone who did their undergrad outside of A&M (and Texas), I am continuously surprised by the dedication and involvement students pour into this University and their causes. As a graduate student, I feel like I barely scratch the surface of all there is to offer in Aggieland, but regardless I make an effort to explore this campus.
If you have any spare time as a graduate student (I know, this is a luxury) you should consider getting involved in an organization! There are social, academic, recreational, and academic clubs that you can be a part of. This is a great way to pursue interests outside of your research, network, make friends, and de-stress. I know most of you are probably affiliated with a club within your department, usually a professional society, and that is fantastic! You have situated yourself in a position to not only learn more about your field, but also to network and help out undergrads. As a bonus, you may even find yourself going to a conference on behalf of the club.
I have benefitted tremendously by co-founding a club. Almost two years ago the Texas A&M federal relations office hosted an event about starting a local science policy chapter. As someone who adores political dramas (*House of Cards*), I decided to check it out. I was thrilled to hear about the impact A&M has on shaping policy, and the presence we have on this nation. You probably do not think about it, but we are one of the top-tier research universities in the world with a huge alumni network sprawled in many industries. Also, as a scientist, you have the power (and arguably a responsibility) to guide science policy. Are you sold on how important science policy is yet? If not, you should know that a lot of funding of research is inevitably political, as it comes from the government. Who decides how much money the NSF gets? To some degree, politicians in committees (eg. the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology) who have little to no formal science education will decide. This is what makes science policy so important. If you have any interest, please check out our club at ASTEPTAMU.com.
Now that my shameless plug is over, I implore you all to be more involved on campus. You may be surprised what opportunities might open up for you when you join club, plus you could always cite it on your résumé and fellowship applications.
Adam Orendain | Biomedical Engineering
is a doctoral student in Biomedical Engineering.