Track: Polymer Science
Undergrad: Western Oregon University, Monmouth, OR - Chemistry
Current Job Title: Plant Manager at Arclin
What was your undergraduate institution?
Western Oregon University, B.S. in Chemistry, Computer Science minor
How did you find yourself at Oregon? What about the program attracted you?
It was described to me as a program that provides graduate level courses and internship opportunities in a field of science. My hope prior to hearing about the program was to find a low level lab job, perhaps at a university, and apply to graduate programs the following year. After hearing about the program I quickly realized that it was perfect for me.
What was the intensive summer like for you?
The summer was very busy and challenging. However, most of the experiences were quite enjoyable and rewarding. The classes were not too different from previous undergraduate courses I have taken but the labs were a bit more involved. In retrospect, the labs were great at preparing me for life in industry. The labs demanded time-management, creativity and hard work. Professional development and the interview process were also valuable experiences for me as I had very limited exposure to that sort of thing.
Looking back at it, I had a great time last summer. I made many new and great friends I still stay in touch with. Especially in the polymer track; we really had a great mix of work and play. We did a masterful job in the classroom and lab.
Where did you do your internship?
I did my internship at Arclin, in Springfield, Oregon – a formaldehyde-based resin manufacturer (Primarily wood adhesive products).
Without giving away any proprietary info, what was your internship like? What were you responsible for? What was a typical day like?
I was hired on as a full-time employee right away, as a product development chemist. I work with phenol-formaldehyde (PF) polymer resins (plywood adhesive). In short, my main responsibilities are to formulate and manufacture PF resins. There are infinite ways to build a PF polymer which yield different end-product properties. The end-product properties will vary depending on customer needs (plywood mills). My group designs resins to fit those needs.
Half the time I am in the lab, reacting resins. A quarter of the time I am doing office work (formulating, report writing etc.) and another quarter of the time I perform miscellaneous tasks around the plant and tech service building. It’s a good mix.
Did you feel the program prepared you for the internship? In what ways?
Yes, especially the immersion lab. There are times at work when deadlines are coming and going very quickly. The immersion lab gave me a taste of needing to perform when your back is against the wall and you have very limited time.
How did your internship prepare you for your current position/career path?
Technically, there was no internship for me – I went straight to the big leagues because they hired me at the interview.
I am very grateful for the experience I’ve had so far and plan to work in this company for a long time. In the event that I end up working somewhere else down the road, I have confidence that the experience and skill set I have developed in this job will put me in a great position to succeed anywhere.