To truly grow, get comfortable with being uncomfortable – Jennifer at Care Solutions
Jennifer is about to graduate as a chemical engineer to fulfill her big dream. She has already fulfilled a part of this dream by doing an internship at Evonik. In our students@Evonik-blog, she tells us what it is like to work at Care Solutions.
My name is Jennifer and I am a student studying Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas! I graduate in December and could not be more excited to have a degree from such an amazing university in an area of study that is both extremely challenging and rewarding. This summer I am interning in Richmond, Virginia at the Business and Innovation Center under the Care Solutions Department.
At Texas A&M, I am a very active member of the American Institution of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) which is how I first became aware of Evonik. I held a position on the programs committee for AIChE and my role included setting up a Lunch & Learn to get Evonik in touch with our student chapter. Being the liaison between companies and the member of AIChE, I see a lot of companies come through the door but there was something different about Evonik to me from the beginning. I could tell that the people there were very passionate about their work and that the culture is one that I could see myself fitting into. At the next career fair, I made sure I spoke to Evonik to get my name in the door. Talking to Evonik seemed like destiny because when the representative asked why I pursued a degree in Chemical Engineering I told him it was because I wanted to create makeup. Upon hearing this he responded back with “Well, you know we create makeup, right?” and from then on, my journey with Evonik started. I was offered the opportunity this summer to work under the Beauty & Personal care line to create cosmetics. This is a dream I had been wanting to pursue for years and for that I am so grateful to Evonik.
I have always been an adventurous person looking to explore new opportunities, so moving across country from Texas to Virginia sounded like a fascinating experience and fascinating it has been. With the Covid – 19 pandemic so greatly affecting the world, I did not know if I would still have the opportunity at the beginning of the summer. All around me, my classmates were losing their internships or even full-time job offers because of the pandemic. I am appreciative that Evonik really strived and pushed to have an internship program even if it was modified.I knew what this opportunity meant and how lucky I was to have it. Evonik has done a great job to keep the work environment safe with social distancing and sanitation which is a big plus in my eyes. Even though the workplace has been much quieter with a limited number of employees on site, that does not take away from the company culture that still shines through. Everyone that I have encountered at Evonik has been extremely welcoming, helpful, and pushed me to do my best. My supervisor, Brian, is a great example of the culture at Evonik. He has consistently taken the time out of his day to sit down with me and teach me not only about the chemistry behind the projects I am working on, but to also review data with me and help review my presentations. I see this as an example of how Evonik embodies open communication and collaboration; helping others when they need it, to do their very best and to benefit the company.
Speaking of my project, this summer I am working on a cleanser formulation designed with special in use properties for leveraging consumer experiences. The objective of this project is to explore behavior and properties of different surfactants and thickening agents to create the targeted profile. This project enhances the chemistry side of my degree and I have really embraced this. Learning the chemistry behind surfactants and analyzing why they perform the way they do in formulations has been a test in seven weeks, but I have learned so much and have really enjoyed it. Every day I come to work, I see my formulations as a puzzle which I want to solve until I get a desirable texture that exhibits the properties that are needed.
The greatest lesson I have learned over the course of this experience is being comfortable with being uncomfortable. What I mean by this is, anytime you push yourself out of your comfort zone is when you are truly growing. Moving across the country seemed scary at the time but there has never been anything so rewarding. I have grown my knowledge, strength, professional skills, and so much more. Anyone who has an opportunity to travel for work or even put themselves in a spot that might not be entirely comfortable, but you know will spark your growth, I highly recommend you do so. My time is almost at an end here in Richmond, but I will take with me all the lessons and memories I learned here and continue to grow and learn from them.
Thank you for reading about my experience and all the best!
See you soon,
.. at #HumanChemistry