David Steinmetz

B.S./M.S. Alumnus

How did you decide to come to Drexel Materials?

Dr. Michael Barsoum's wife was my art teacher growing up. In high school, he first interested me in materials science and Drexel. After being accepted, I interviewed a professor from each engineering department to find the one that fit me best and settled on materials.

First Job Post-Graduation

Internship at the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf, Germany as part of a one-year exchange program. There I was responsible for improving the resolution of a technique often used in materials science to characterize the microstructure of materials, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD).

How did you find your first job?

Former department head and faculty member Dr. Surya Kalidindi had good relations with the director of the institute and gave me his email address and suggested I contact him when I told him I would be going to Germany.

What have you been doing since?

My time at the Max Planck Institute was fruitful and inspiring, so I decided to stay there to do my Ph.D. I began my Ph.D. in September 2008 and have been doing research since.

How do you feel your Drexel materials education has contributed to your job?

Because I am pursuing a Ph.D. in materials science, I use what I learned at Drexel every single day. The BS/MS program was particularly helpful. Germans graduate college with a degree that is more or less equivalent to our master's degree. Therefore, to work at the institute towards my Ph.D., I would have had to do my master's first if I had not participated in Drexel's BS/MS program.

Do you have any advice for students looking for an engineering program or for current students?

I recommend you do what I did as a freshman: contact one professor from each department and interview them. What do (materials/chemical/mechanical, etc.) engineers really do? What kinds of jobs do they get? What kind of salary do they receive? Is it more physics, chemistry, biology, or a mix? In the beginning, I thought I would like chemical engineering because of the name. During the interview process I found out that materials science was a better fit for me because it was based largely on solids, while chemical was based mostly on liquids and gasses. Materials science was also a good fit because of the low faculty-to-student ratio and the amount of attention each faculty member could afford to give.

Year of Graduation: 2007


Advised by

Dr. Surya Kalidindi

Professor (now at Georgia Institute of Technology)