Bringing the Next Generation on Board

A tool kit for finding and engaging future committee members and leaders.
Katerina Koperna & Travis Murdock

For Technical Committee Members

How to find your next generation of committee members and leaders

Like all standards developing organizations, ASTM International benefits from engaging students in its technical committee activities. Students in technical disciplines are the next generation of professionals to enter the workforce. What better way to engage them and help shape their expertise than by letting them work with top industry experts on the technical standards they will use in their jobs?

One easy way to make students aware of your committee work and engage them early is to survey the relationships your committee already has. Executive subcommittee members can review the roster for academic connections and then add their own contacts to this list. A designated representative can email all the contacts to promote the next committee meeting and invite students to attend.

In addition, some colleges and universities have student clubs directly related to the work of an ASTM committee. Committee leaders or staff managers can connect with these clubs to explore opportunities for collaboration, such as:

  • Paper competitions;
  • Participation at committee meetings;
  • Sending a guest lecturer as an emissary to a club meeting or class; or
  • Inviting students to conduct research for a particular standard under development.

Once the word gets out and clubs are engaged, other schools may learn of the efforts and reach out to participate.

Some committees have created scholarships and other programs that raise awareness of the committee among students and provide needed financial assistance:

  • The committee on concrete and concrete aggregates (C09) sponsors and awards the Katharine and Bryant Mather Student Contribution Award of $1,000 as well as the Katharine and Bryant Mather Student Scholarship of up to $7,500 to students pursuing degrees specializing in cement or concrete materials technology, or concrete construction.
  • The committee on metallography (E04) sponsors and awards the Mary R. Norton Memorial Scholarship Award for Women of $1,000 for women college seniors or first-year graduate students to pursue the study of physical metallurgy or materials science.
  • The committee on fatigue and fracture (E08) sponsors the E08 Best Student Paper Award, given to students who develop, present, and publish high quality research papers in the field of fracture and subcritical crack growth.

With over 5,000 student members and many more active members from universities around the globe, ASTM International has a vast network of academic partners willing to help. In order to expand this network, we ask all technical committee members with academic contacts, awareness of opportunities on campus, or who would like to see more university involvement within their committee to inform their staff manager, or contact Academic Outreach staff directly.

Engaging Generation Z

How one technical committee is helping stakeholders account for differences in how young people interact with their environments.

More than likely, certain properties of the toothpaste, shampoo, and soap you used this morning were assessed by the manufacturer using sensory evaluation. Such assessments involve asking panelists about their impressions of consumer products like food or beauty items using sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. This type of evaluation aims to provoke and interpret genuine human responses that would otherwise not be possible in a typical laboratory setting.

Because sensory testing is so important for evaluating consumer products, ASTM International’s committee on sensory evaluation (E18) held a symposium this past April titled “Generation Z – Interacting with the Next Generation,” to help testers meet a younger generation of consumers on their own turf.

This symposium was designed to complement an existing ASTM International standard involving sensory evaluation of products by children and minors (E2299). The guide helps users understand issues around doing sensory or market research studies with children from birth to preadolescence, ensuring safe, ethical, and valid testing methods.

Speakers talked about how committee members involved with sensory evaluation can engage kids when performing sensory testing by using something they easily engage with, like modern computer technology. Since Generation Z grew up around technology, introducing things like tablets and computers when performing sensory testing may better engage them, yielding more genuine results and improving the evaluation.

Lisa Beck, president and founder of Insight Factory, who shared her experiences of working with kids in qualitative and quantitative studies, says, “Technology and how young consumers interact with technology as a part of sensory testing is ever-evolving.” She also discussed practical considerations when conducting sensory testing with young consumers, so that best practices can be incorporated into guides and sensory testing.

In a comment that could apply to research and testing areas beyond sensory evaluation, Marianne Swaney-Stueve, Ph.D., an associate research professor at Kansas State University and manager of the Sensory and Consumer Research Center, says, “We are hoping that learning more about the kids of today will help researchers think about how to approach product testing with this generation — how to ask questions and design studies.”

—Emma Kuliczkowski, 2018 ASTM International Communications Intern

For Professors

Easy ways to add standards to your curriculum

It’s important to the future of standards developing organizations that university students learn about the role of voluntary consensus standards in product quality and public health and safety, as well as international commerce. ASTM International understands it can be difficult to add new blocks of information into already crowded curricula, so we provide a variety of tools and resources to help educators incorporate information about consensus standards into coursework.

One of our most popular academic resources is the Professor’s Tool Kit (, a free compilation of educational content that professors can pick and choose from to incorporate into existing coursework. The tool kit includes learning modules and videos on topics like the importance of standards and the standards development process, informative handouts for students, case studies, and industry overviews.

Professors can also invite ASTM International staff and members to serve as guest lecturers in the classroom and take advantage of webinars and discounts on standards. ASTM also recognizes professors who go above and beyond to incorporate standards education into their classroom with our Professor of the Year Award.

ASTM International also offers support for universities seeking educational grant funding needed to help develop standards education or for research that incorporates, or may lead to, the creation or revision of ASTM standards. For example, ASTM provided letters of support for the University of Virginia and Oregon State University’s applications for the 2018 Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Staff also provided letters of support to UVA and Montana State University for the National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation grant.

Outreach Case Studies

University of Virginia

In early 2018, ASTM staff and Darwin Millard, a member of ASTM’s committee on cannabis (D37), were invited to the University of Virginia. There they participated in a meeting with university faculty and staff, a standards education workshop for students and faculty, and an interactive workshop designed to tease out the importance and impact of standards in the burgeoning cannabis and industrial hemp industries. All three events were well attended and well received. ASTM staff and UVA faculty also discussed the university’s plans to develop an undergraduate course on standards development for the 2019 term.

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Through its involvement in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement Program, the University of Pennsylvania Law School invited ASTM International staff to help create a new website dedicated to voluntary codes and standards. As part of the grant, Cary Coglianese — the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science — interviewed two ASTM staff members. The interviews led to a series of short video clips on topics such as the standards development process and the importance of standards to law students. The video clips, along with a collection of other content from organizations like NIST, the American National Standards Institute, the National Fire Protection Association, and the International Code Council, are available at 

Learn more about:

Succession Planning

Information for Professors

Information for Students

Emerging Professionals Program

For More Information: Travis Murdock


Here’s how ASTM International works with the academic community to benefit students and professors and pave the way to greater understanding of consensus standards among university and college students:

  • Student membership is free to all university- and college-level students.
  • Staff and members regularly visit universities as guest lecturers or workshop presenters, or may invite them to attend technical committee meetings.
  • Educators have access to standards development course material such as presentations, videos, and handouts as part of the Professor’s Tool Kit.
  • ASTM International awards several $10,000 graduate scholarships annually and $500 project grants to help students complete capstone or senior design work.
  • ASTM is a sponsor of the Washington Internships for Students and Engineering program, which exposes engineering students to the world of public policy in Washington, D.C.
  • Our Professor of the Year Award recognizes professors who incorporate ASTM standards into the classroom by awarding $2,000 to the professor and an additional $2,000 to their university.