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Young Spirit – A field report

Dr. Dieter Reusch, a long-time Young Spirit mentor, talks about his experiences with Young Spirit and why he is so enthusiastic about working with the children.

After studying chemistry and obtaining my Doctorate from the University of Cologne, Evonik offered me a great start in the process technology department as a technical chemist. There, I could immediately apply the knowledge I had gained during my studies and in addition manage a lab and small-scale production in a completely new field. This was professional development right from the start!

Some exciting years later, I switched to strategic controlling and later entered the operational controlling department of a Business Line. This gave me a completely new and exciting insight into the company and it still gives me a lot of joy.  Even in the depths of the financial world, chemical knowledge is often of great help; at least in the chemical industry as you can imagine.

My activities as a Young Spirit Mentor 

I discovered Evonik's internal Young Spirit initiative through my daughters when they started kinder garden in 2009.   I wanted to share my enthusiasm for science with the children.  At that time, Young Spirit was already well-established, so I was able to use ready-made experiments and borrow the equipment kits. In addition, there is a professional training in which the mentors are thoroughly trained in advance for the specifics of working together with children in kinder garden through elementary schools.  Young Spirit training is ongoing today for new colleagues. 

For me, it is always motivating to experience how excited the children are to participate and to see their shining eyes. The most beautiful experience I had was in a primary school class. I always introduce myself as a chemist and tell the children what chemistry is all about. For example, "What great inventions we owe to chemistry" and "Understanding the world by analyzing nature". At the end of the lesson, after some nice experiments, a little boy came to me and said: "Mr. Reusch, I also want to become a chemist!” The spark was ignited right there. Moments like these motivate me to keep participating in Young Spirit.

I think Evonik has many exciting new tasks and opportunities for me in the future. When my children are a little bit older, I can also imagine working abroad. I am looking forward to the many future opportunities at Evonik!

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