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Merging Mech. Engineering & Chemistry for work in the Military Sectoror

  1. May 8, 2012 #1
    Hi there.

    I am currently a freshman Mechanical Engineering major.

    I'll try to keep things short. I have a vision for my future; I want to design body armor and personal protective equipment for the military/paramilitary.

    This interest has lead me to pursue Mechanical Engineering as a major, but I have always had a fascination and infatuation with chemistry. I've just recently been spending more time with some of my good friends who are chem/biochem majors, and the more they show and explain their work to me, the more interested I become in the field.

    I am considering maintaining my major in Mechanical Engineering, and picking up a minor in chemistry. I've been considering Grad school after graduation, and right now I'm considering moving into Materials Science for Grad school. I am looking into Materials Science because of my interest in the use of Ceramics/Ceramic Composite integration into the work I want to do designing defensive equipment.

    I am currently established as a double-major: M.E. and German. My plan was initially to pursue a 5-year degree where I spend my fourth year (between junior and "senior" year) in Germany studying German and some engineering. I am strongly considering (seeing as how I start the German major in the coming fall semester) dropping that idea and switching to a chem minor.

    If there is any advice that anyone has for me I would greatly appreciate it. This idea is fresh and I'm still giving it due consideration before making any such decision. I possess the work ethic and mental faculty to complete the work, and so I am not doubting myself in that respect - if that is a legitimate concern that anyone might have for me. (I don't mean to sound arrogant; I have faith in my abilities and I have invaluable friends.)

    My main interest points are, I suppose:
    1. Is the German program (double-major) worthwhile in comparison to finishing in four years?
    2. Is my concept of minoring in chemistry with mechanical engineering worthwhile?
    3. Is materials science the right field to be looking into?
    4. (Also, if anyone has any uncommon advice for working into the military sector of industry)

    Thank you so much for your time and insight. I apologize for being long-winded. I also realize that a lot of this has been rather vague; if there are any questions regarding details please don't hesitate to ask.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 19, 2012 #2
    It depends but what you mean by work in the military sector. If you get a PhD and work in academia, you can apply for DARPA grants (Google DARPA if you don't know what it is). You can try to work directly for DARPA as well. Or you could join the military and try to get into DARPA too. However, if you are in the military, you can't be permanently at DARPA. You can only do rotations there, and I don't remember how long they are.

    Chemistry would be good to know since you can look at how polymers are made.
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