The MEM Labs, located in E11 room 102 and 106, are great places to explore, learn and engage in some hands on practice and experimentation with MEM concepts. You get your first taste of the lab with MEM 2212 and then maybe you haven’t spent much time in there again – but that’s all about to change!
The MEM Lab is getting a facelift this summer and we will be introducing lab kits with which to experiment and experience some different materials and equipment related to manufacturing, and we will be connecting more intentionally to the OPIM Innovate Lab over in the School of Business. Some of the exciting features besides a cleaner look, include a roller table, robot arm and a few other special things we are still working on.
The other very important feature of the MEM Lab is the Lab Manager. Typically, each year we hire one or two lab managers, preferably a senior, and a junior who can continue in the role the following year.
I decided to ask our last two lab managers what they thought about being the lab manager, how they got the job and how it may have impacted their ability to learn and take those skills to jobs outside UConn.
Here’s what they had to say about being Lab Manager:
How did you become the lab manager?
Logan: I applied to become a lab manager the summer going into junior year. There was a post on JobX for a MEM lab manager as well as one for the MEM 2212 UTA. I applied and got both positions for junior year.
John Henry: I became the MEM Lab Manager my junior year after hearing about the open position from the past Lab Manager, Logan Miller. I applied and went through an easy interview process and got the job.
What do you enjoy about being the lab manager?
Logan: When I was the lab manager, I enjoyed having that space available to me to do work in. I also enjoyed helping other students with using the printers and/or studying for certain classes. It was nice to represent MEM and create a welcoming environment for everybody.
John Henry: I spent a lot of time in the MEM Lab through my freshman and sophomore years and it quickly became my go-to study space. I also enjoyed MEM 2212 and working with the 3D printers. As the Lab Manager, I get to operate and make use of the space for both myself and other students who want to utilize it like I once did. Now that we are looking to make renovations, I am excited to be part of a transitional period for the lab and help make it even better.
Were there any extra benefits such as experiential learning or any transferable skills that helped you get a job?
Logan: I’d say one of the biggest transferable skills I got from being the lab manager was effective communication. At times there would be multiple students in the lab asking different things of me and I had to make sure I was answering their questions completely and clearly. But I also needed to work with many faculty members to get certain things done which taught me how to approach people higher up than me without being nervous or unclear.
John Henry: I found that the employers I talked with loved to hear about my experience as a Lab Manager. Being able to talk about working with manufacturing technologies in a lab environment as well as being a resource for other students is something they saw as valuable experience.
What would you want to share with other MEM students about pros or cons to being the lab manager?
Logan: As far as pros, you have access to the MEM lab whenever you want – it’s a great place to do work with friends or isolate instead of going to the library or staying in your dorm. It also makes you much more professional and helps you meet other people in the MEM program. If you’re passionate about the MEM program, you will also be hosting prospective students and their families during open houses.
As far as cons, it can be a serious time commitment and you need to be comfortable with how the 3D printers work, how different computer programs work, and should have a basic understanding of the different MEM courses you’ve taken so that you can provide assistance if needed. The amount of work fluctuates quite a bit – sometimes it is super busy (especially during Senior Design season) and sometimes it is extremely slow.
John Henry: The pros are that it is great pay for easy work, and it is located in E2 where MEM has many classes. Plus you can really make your own schedule, which is also very nice when planning around classes. The cons? Well, I haven’t found any downsides!
We are always looking to hire a lab manager for this year and next. If you are interested, please visit the student on campus job website, search for jobs on Storrs work study or campus jobs and select Mechanical Engineering as the Employer. The Job is listed as a Class III – Student Computer Lab Specialist – 319UST. For additional questions, please contact the Program Assistant.