In high school, a teacher introduced me to chemistry through relatable experiments to understand the world around us. We tested the acidity of various fruit juices, measured and calculated the percentage of copper in pre-1982 pennies, and used M&M’s to create a hungry dragon experiment where flames dramatically shot out of a test tubes in a myriad of colors. After my junior year, I knew I wanted to continue to study chemistry to learn more.
I arrived at college with my mindset on being an engineer, the perfect field for a person who is curious how things work. However, the introduction to Chemical Engineering courses were not enough to satisfy my curiosity so I quickly pivoted, and became a chemistry major. As excited as I was I also knew that I was adding an extra 4-5 years of school. I dove into my chemistry classes, found a lab to do research in and never looked back.
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I started graduate school. I loved waking up every morning and going into my research lab to run my experiments. It was my happy place. I enjoyed making new compounds, analyzing them with various instruments, and having vials filled with compounds I made. I jumped for joy when I had a working device in my hands. I worked countless hours in the lab and enjoyed every minute of it.
After five years of graduate school, I entered the professional world-I started my career at Dow as an analytical chemist. Ten years have gone by, my job looks very different than the one I started with- I am focused on different techniques, I am leading projects, and I am traveling more for my job, but I am still enjoying the chemistry. Working in the chemical industry is more than standing at a lab bench in a lab coat. My job entails working with a team to develop an analytical plan for our products, or analyzing a metal part from a reactor that is failing. It is teamwork, and mentoring, it’s coming up with new ideas for sustainability or pivoting when we get unexpected results. Every day is a new job, there are new products we are planning to launch, new opportunities to lead a project, or learn a new technique, and every year I am glad I chose Chemistry.