The Society thinks it’s time to acknowledge more members more often, so we’ve decided to place a spotlight on members whose dedication to the SCC has not gone unnoticed.
Senior Agrochemical Formulations Chemist
Member Since: 1996
St. Louis Chapter
What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting out in the industry?
Ha! You don’t have all of the answers, and once you think you do, you are in trouble. Learn from your mistakes, admit to your mistakes, and share your learnings.
1) What made you pursue a career in the cosmetics/personal care industry?
During graduate school (Clarkson University), where I was finishing my Master’s thesis to become a chemistry teacher, my best friend introduced me to his advisor – Professor Stig Friberg. After many conversations with Professor Friberg, I was invited to join his group as a Ph.D. candidate. Over the next few years, I was introduced to the world of “amphiphilic association structures” – surfactants, emulsions, microemulsions, lamellar liquid crystals, liposomes. I attended my first SCC meeting as a graduate student, and met Randy Wickett, Pat Aikens, Linda Rhein and many others who I continue to look up to and admire to this day. And, after graduation, I was hired as a formulation chemist.
2) What is the favorite part of your job?
Oddly, I am no longer in the personal care/cosmetics business (recently, switched careers to the world of agrochemicals!). Throughout my 22-year career, I have formulated hard surface cleaners, disinfectants, and even oral care products. But, deep down, I will always be a personal care chemist. Personal care formulation combines art and science more than any other scientific discipline I can think of. We may use concepts such as HLB, wetting, surface tension, emulsification, slip, drag, etc. as backbones, starting blocks for development … but often, the final “tweaking” is based on experience, instinct, or simple luck to get to the final aesthetics that make the formula a success.
3) What has been your most recent professional accomplishment?
Honestly, the accomplishments I am most proud of recently are the successes of the people I have supervised throughout my career. I have seen those I have worked with do amazing things, have great successes … and I am proud that I may have played a small role in their life journey.
4) How has membership in the SCC been of value to you?
I have served as a National Office and Chapter Officer through most of my time as an SCC member. Why? Because I believe in the mission, in the people, and in the science. Our “community” is relatively small, and I have made many great friendships through the SCC, and I always look forward to seeing everyone at events and meetings. But, in the end, it is about the Science.
5) What is a fun fact about yourself, outside of the SCC and your professional life?
I am in charge of the girls’ lacrosse program at my daughter’s school. Girls in my lacrosse program range from 3rd grade to 8th grade. That’s a lot of crazy, unpredictable energy … with lacrosse sticks!