Advances in science and technology are now at the heart of the global economy, but the number of students earning degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields has stalled. According to the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE), programs have been initiated nationwide to nurture interest in the sciences, including research competitions, co-ops and internships, and K-12 STEM education. Senior thermal analysis scientists are not only researchers, they are role models, mentors and teachers intimately involved in the recruitment and training of young scientists. The authors present guidelines for thermal analysis research project planning for high school students, undergraduate students and master’s and doctoral candidates. Project planning includes developmentally appropriate techniques, methods, instruments, scope and significance. Case studies illustrate examples of short-term, concrete materials analysis projects tailored to younger student researchers, as well as master’s level projects making significant contributions to the state of the science and innovative doctoral research. In addition to designing projects for students at all levels, senior thermal analysis scientists can use specific teaching and training techniques to help young scientists develop their abilities in the lab and at the podium.
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