|Senior Research Scientist|
|Science and research|
|Large business (250+ employees)|
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A day in the life of a Senior Research Scientist in the United States
Being on the fence between academia and industry, this job actually combines the best of both worlds.
Briefly describe the organisation you work for
I work for 3M Company in their global headquarters in the USA.
What do you do?
As a Ph.D. scientist in the Corporate Research Materials Laboratory, I work in the field of photopolymerisations, mostly scouting and exploring new chemistries for specialty applications.
Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?
Clearly my undergraduate in Chemistry shaped my career choice by sparking my interest and giving me the knowledge foundation to continue my education. I entered a Ph.D. programme in chemistry with the goal to find a job in industry afterwards. However, over the years I was torn between becoming a professor or switching to industrial research. In the end, I found out that there are industrial jobs that are incredibly academic.
Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?
My current job is exactly the job I hoped I could land after graduation. Being on the fence between academia and industry, this job actually combines the best of both worlds. I enjoy the intellectual freedom of choosing my own projects while benefiting from the security and real-world products that a company enables.
Describe your most memorable day at work
Memorable days are the ones where I meet inspirational people, who, as it later turns out, have invented groundbreaking things. Hearing their stories is very encouraging and helps with finding the courage to tackle the grand challenges rather than small iterative improvements.
Are there any challenges associated with your job?
Most of the challenges are related to the nature of research. Research is often slow and frustrating but the breakthroughs are worth the suffering.
What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?
I was involved in volunteering and entrepreneurship.
What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?
Find the things you're truly passionate about and see how you can make a career out of it. Make a plan to get there. Think about what you want to be known for. Try to develop a unique and well-rounded expertise. Even if you don't end up continuing your plan, your experiences (including volunteering and entrepreneurship) will help you stand out.
What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?
I'd be happy to answer questions about Ph.D. programs in the US, the transition from academia to industry, science in general or most other topics.
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