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On the Similarities Between Evonik and Graffiti: Lisa-Marie in America

As part of the Ruhr Fellowship Program, Lisa-Marie had the opportunity to participate in a 6-week internship in Piscataway, New Jersey. In our students@Evonik blog, she writes about her experiences with Evonik in the United States.

I am Lisa-Marie, 24 years old, and am studying Bioengineering at the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. Being part of the Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship, which gives students of the University Alliance Ruhr the opportunity to gain insights into American corporate culture and practical work experience in the New York metropolitan region, I spent a total of two months in the USA. One part of the fellowship is a 6-week internship in the USA, next to a summer school on "Global Markets & Entrepreneurship" at Rutgers University in New Brunswick and a skills seminar at the German-American Chamber of Commerce, which I did at Evonik in Piscataway, New Jersey. This gave me the opportunity to gain my first professional experience abroad as well as a good insight into Evonik's day-to-day business.

During my studies, I learned a lot about the production of chemical products, especially pharmaceuticals. The focus was on large-scale production and the optimization of processes. The practical application of the products; however, was mostly of secondary importance. Working at Evonik though, I had the opportunity to learn exactly that: What is made? What is it used for and how? – I have always been particularly astonished by the wide range of possible applications for the products made, based on the motto: "Oh! Evonik does that too?”

In Piscataway, there are research laboratories of Evonik’s Business Lines Resource Efficiency and Nutrition & Care. As part of the Resource Efficiency Business Line, I worked with functional silanes, especially for use as surface protection products. During my internship, I had my own research project on Protectosil ANTIGRAFFITI®, which I worked on in close cooperation with my supervisors.

Of course, everyone has seen graffiti before, whether in Germany or America. You can find paint everywhere on walls of buildings. Sometimes, they are real works of art for which artists were hired, but most of the time, they are unwanted graffiti. Once the paint is on the wall though, it is hard to get rid of it. However, if you combine a previous added protective coat of Protectosil ANTIGRAFFITI® with the right detergent, the graffiti will be easier to remove from the surface.

During my internship, I was able to plan, carry out and evaluate experiments on my own and discuss the results with my supervisors. My suggestions were always taken into account and, if there were questions from my side, I could always rely on someone to support me. I also always paid attention to the application and environmental aspects of the product. This means that the application of the product by the customer should be as simple and safe as possible, and a bad influence on the environment or human health should be avoided. I have also worked with other departments and laboratories in Germany for this. This mixture of cooperation and independent work, but also the awareness that my results have an influence on important decisions in the future, motivated me every day. 

Well, this was the first part of my blog. In the next part, I will tell you more about how it is to work for Evonik in Piscataway.

See you soon,
your Lisa-Marie

On the students@Evonik blog students who work at Evonik share their experiences about life in the company.


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