TAMEST Protégé Program Celebrates 15 Years of Inspiring the Next Generation of Scientists and Researchers

Brian Korgel Protégé Program Testimony

Fifteen years ago, Professor Brian Korgel, Ph.D., was invited to be a “Protégé” at TAMEST’s first-ever conference. At the time, Dr. Korgel, the Ernest Cockrell Jr. Memorial Chair in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, had no real idea what it meant to be accepted into a National Academy.

“I remember feeling like I was brought into an inner circle that I didn’t know existed,” Dr. Korgel said. “My Ph.D. and postdoctoral advisors weren’t a part of the National Academies, so I wasn’t exposed to its potential before becoming a protégé.”

The protégé program gives TAMEST members an opportunity to invite an early career researcher on the path to National Academies nomination to the conference. TAMEST protégés benefit from opportunities at the conference to network with the top researchers in the state and learn more about the research and innovation taking place in Texas.

Since participating in the program, Dr. Korgel has gone on to receive many accolades for his fundamental breakthroughs in nanomaterials, including processing and application. In 2009, he won the TAMEST O’Donnell Award for his excellence in engineering. Last year, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his significant technical, commercial and societal impacts in the fields of Fibananowires and nanocrystals.

“Now that I am a TAMEST member, I will definitely be bringing a protégé to the conference,” Dr. Korgel said. “It has proven important in my own career, and I want to pass that on to someone else.”

And Korgel isn’t the only one. TAMEST Member Fred Chang, chair of the Department of Computer Science at Southern Methodist University, says he, too, will bring a protégé to this year’s conference.

“It is an eye-opening and empowering experience for someone rising in their career,” Dr. Chang said. “It allows them to learn about leading-edge research taking place in Texas, helps them make contacts, connects them with this great group of people from across many different disciplines and at many different locations, and in my view, it serves as a generally motivating experience at a great time in their career.”

Chang and Korgel agree that a part of being TAMEST members means paying it forward and helping the future of innovation in Texas continue to grow and bloom. To date, the program has helped more than 600 professionals attend the TAMEST conference to engage in critical discussions and networking that could very well influence the rest of their careers.

“It’s an introduction to the highest level of achievement in our career and the protégé program allows you to introduce young scientists to what it means to succeed,” Dr. Korgel said.

TAMEST members: Invite a protégé to join you at the conference. Don’t miss this opportunity to help elevate the next generation of researchers in Texas.

Not a TAMEST member? Our conference is now open to the greater research community.