#MEETCATEXEL: YFRANKA’S JOURNEY FROM INTERN TO LAB TECHNICIAN
At Catexel, we believe in the importance of developing and supporting new talent within the STEM industries. Here, we speak to Yfranka Roelofsen about her experience working at Catexel so far having joined us as a permanent member of staff after completing a six-month internship.
How long have you worked at Catexel?
I started working for Catexel in 2014 as an intern in their research and development team. I completed the six-month internship during my Masters and it gave me a great opportunity to get experience working in a commercial laboratory with a team of experts in oxidation catalysis.
When I finished my Masters, I was looking for a permanent position and having developed a good relationship with the Catexel team, I was fortunate that there was a position available. I started my full-time role as a Lab Technician in August 2016.
What did you do before you worked at Catexel?
Before joining Catexel as a full-time member of staff, I was studying for my Masters in Research and Development at the Hogeschool of Utrecht. During my Masters, I did two internships, one of which was at Catexel.
I would highly recommend that anyone hoping to embark on a STEM career gain some practical experience to support their academic learnings. Spending time in a commercial setting is a great way to improve your understanding of the industry and how it works.
What’s your experience at Catexel been like so far?
My research so far has predominantly been focused on the use of our catalysts for use in coatings applications and it’s been incredibly interesting so far. We’re a small team in the lab and it’s great to go to work every day with such a friendly and talented group of people. You can learn so much from those around you and I love hearing about what everyone is working on – you never know where you will get inspiration for your own projects.
At Catexel we’re encouraged to think laterally to be able to find new applications that our catalysts can be used for to support faster, cleaner, safer processes. The mix of backgrounds and cultural influences in the technical team means we’re well placed to look at challenges from different perspectives.
Describe a typical day working at Catexel
No day is the same, every day is different! Some days will involve writing comprehensive reports and meticulously recording data from your lab work, and the next you will be back in the lab working to improve the results.
I always try to combine the reporting and theoretical tasks with lab work, to help continually develop both my knowledge and practical skills.
What’s your favourite thing about working in the scientific industry?
I always knew I wanted to do something more physical than sitting at a desk – a career that kept me on my feet and my mind busy. At the age of 14, my school introduced me to the STEM subjects and since that moment it’s never disappointed me – I’m still just as fascinated by the possibilities science, and in particular chemistry, provides.
My favourite thing is performing experiments, not knowing what will be the results and then digging deep to find the reason why that result was achieved, to help me understand science better.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in this industry?
Just go for it! Every day is different and there’s no limit to what can be achieved through innovative thinking. An internship is a great way to try new and different things to help you decide what you’re most interested in and where your strengths lie.
We’re always looking at for talented people to join our team so if you’re interested in career opportunities with Catexel, please use our contact form to get in touch.