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STEMJOBS.COM // EARLY FALL 2017 21 She recently earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and is proud to be one of just a few women in her company of 6,600 people to have attained this degree. Lauren's doctoral research focused on making the process of desalination (taking salt out of seawater to make drinking water) a growing area of research for her company, and allowed her to work and study at the same time. Lauren was encouraged in the pursuit of her chemistry career by her college chemistry professor, who helped her to explore chemistry in environmental applications outside of her assigned class work. "My love of science started early, however, as my dad was a baker and I learned that the right materials combined and heated under specific conditions formed a delicious result!" She actually earned her bachelor's degree in biology, even though she did a lot of lab work and went on to get her master's degree in science and engineering. The professor who was her master's thesis advisor led a water research group and Lauren found joining in that research to be a turning point for her. "It was the critical beginning to my career and I am so thankful for that experience." STEM skills are important requirements for success as a scientist in the drinking water industry, reports Lauren. "Chemistry is a big part of my job, but so is microbiology, automated and robotic technology, engineering, and math," she explains. "Exploring and investigating hypotheses is critical to research. Problem-solving, critical thinking, organization, managing and interpreting complex datasets, project management, communication, and leadership skills are all required." Seeing chemistry as a continuing critical need in many environmental sciences due to increasing pollution, lack of water resources, climate change, and drought, Lauren believes there are many opportunities in the drinking water industry, waste management, air, and energy fields. "Chemists also have opportunities to grow in good-paying jobs in health care, medicine, drug manufacturing, and the manufacture of building materials from sustainable and green chemistry applications." Lauren has found the most rewarding part of her job to be part of an industry that is passionate about protecting public health and providing clean water. "This very fulfilling career feels more like a calling than a job! We have a diverse and supportive team in a growing company that empowers me to overcome any challenge. "We need you," she tells high school students and encourages them to look for opportunities in high school and college to do research as an extension of a class project or a follow-up investigation monitored by a teacher. "Seeking mentorship from these opportunities will provide experience and personal connections that will help you to find your calling. There are many industries that need chemists to find solutions!" LAUREN WEINRICH ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST DEGREES: PH.D. IN ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, MASTER'S IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, BACHELOR'S IN BIOLOGY YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 12 STEM TYPE: DESIGNER "CHEMISTS ALSO HAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW IN GOOD-PAYING JOBS IN HEALTH CARE, MEDICINE, AND DRUG MANUFACTURING."

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