My name is Eleanor, and I am studying biological systems engineering at Kansas State University, USA. I will start my third year in the fall. I am in the Summer Professional Enrichment (SPE) program in the Animal Nutrition business line under the Nutrition and Care division. I work at the Blair, NE site as a Process Development Engineering intern.
I am pursuing a career in biotechnology exploring new-generation solutions. When exploring internship opportunities, I wanted to find a company that truly emphasized sustainability and biotechnology. Evonik seemed like the perfect fit with a wide variety of innovative developments and integrated guidelines from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As I near the end of summer I am sure this is true. I appreciate how authentic the company is to its values. I have enjoyed the experience I have had so far and I am excited to see what I can learn and contribute in the future. I am proud to be part of a company that is dedicated to making a sustainable and positive difference in the world.
The Blair site, in particular, is a fantastic fit as it pairs fermentation biotechnology with food security. During the summer, I had two main projects. For reliability monitoring of plate replacements and maintenance in heat exchangers, I developed a digital dashboard for continuous sterilizers. The dashboard is used to identify heat plate fouling and reduce premature replacement. The second project involved evaluating and implementing redundant monosaccharides readings of carbon source solutions. The readings will be used to increase automation in the plant by regulating the solution flowrate. My projects challenged me to solve complicated problems with creative solutions. I am grateful to have been assigned meaningful projects, which contributed to the team's success. Through these projects, I strengthened my knowledge of engineering principles and developed my technical skills, including reading P&IDs, operating PI ProcessBook, formally documenting progress, and developing approaches from raw data.
Outside of my site projects I participated in professional development events: Lunch and Learns, SPE Jam sessions, and a LinkedIn Learning training where I learned how to stand out as candidate and reach my fullest potential. I also shadowed two plant trials and many confined space entries including fermentation tank inspections. The experience was very rewarding and helped me learn more about fermentation technology and mechanics. It was interesting to gain a deeper understanding of what is involved in standardizing a living process.
My favorite part of the internship was the people I worked alongside. They made me feel welcome, valued, and included on-site and off. I was amazed by how dedicated everyone was and how committed they were to ensuring I felt like part of the team. It was enjoyable to participate in various activities after-hours, including bike rides, dinners, soccer games, parades, and yoga classes. I made some great friendships and connections during my internship. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people. I learned a lot and will leave with many valuable experiences. Upon graduation, I will definitely explore the possibility of a rotational program or a full-time position with Evonik.
On the students@Evonik blog, students, who work at Evonik, share their experiences about life and work in the company.