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Focus on Chemists for National Chemistry Week

Posted 10/19/2018 by Jeff Smith, Director America’s Research and Development

Every matter in the world has chemistry involved in it. Specifically, adhesive chemistry works through millions upon millions of material interactions that occur on a molecular level. On a grander scale, adhesive chemistry opens the door for other technologies, allowing for the design and fabrication for what was once thought to be impossible.


At H.B. Fuller, we understand that adhesive chemistry is what enables organizations to create lighter, smaller, faster, stronger, and cheaper solutions. Examples include our work in replacing metal fasteners with adhesives in automotive and aerospace assembly to reduce weight and thus improve fuel efficiency without sacrificing durability. And, our sealants used in the fabrication of energy-efficient double-paned windows enable further reductions in building energy demands, saving people money and supporting global carbon footprint reduction efforts.


That’s why we’re honoring National Chemistry Week by celebrating several chemists in our organization who have been instrumental across the globe. The event, which is held this year from October 21-27, is a community-based program of the American Chemical Society. In an effort to communicate the importance of chemistry to our quality of life, it provides an excellent opportunity to make a positive impact in the public's perception of chemistry and to promote the value of chemistry in everyday life.


Here’s how some of our chemists are making a positive impact.

 

Pat Gleason

 

Pat Gleason has been a chemist for the last 35 years, having studied Chemical Engineering in school. He was always curious about his surroundings, wondering what things were made of and how they worked, which is what compelled him to choose a career in chemistry.


According to Pat, “I see our world as a collection of chemical interactions, and as such all things are impacted by chemistry; from a simple spark to climate change.” He believes that the manipulation of chemistry has the potential to simplify the lives of all people, such as generating energy, improving efficiencies in food production, and further enabling medical advances.

 

Marietta Helmeke


Marietta Helmeke has been a chemist since she graduated with her degree in Chemistry in 1982. At that time, Marietta starting teaching Organic and Physical Chemistry lab classes for four years at the university level, and then moved to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.


When asked about why adhesive chemistry is so cool, Marietta felt that it is because adhesives are everywhere, and that their properties are so diverse, depending on where they are used, so formulating adhesive products is never boring.


Kristine Her


Kristine Her is coming up on completing her first year as a chemist in December. She is grateful that her role more-or-less fell into place and that she works for such a good company with good people. She also appreciates how H.B. Fuller enables her to strive for lifelong learning.


Kristine loves how chemistry continues to teach her a lot about herself and how it is applicable everywhere. Specifically, Kristine is passionate about how her role in the packaging and paper converting department helps reduce food waste, as H.B. Fuller’s comprehensive line of universally compatible adhesives for packaging and paper converting continues to provide proper ventilation and product protection.


Grant Humbert


Grant Humbert has been a professional chemist for the last 10 years. After graduating from college, Grant found the job to be even more fulfilling than he thought it would, particularly since it allowed him to travel and see his ideas run at large scale from manufacturing to the finished goods.


According to Grant, “Chemistry changes just about every aspect of our lives and continues to push the boundaries every year. As we drive towards a more sustainable future, chemistry will be key to making this world a better place—no matter the industry or product.”


Justin Kaffenberger


Justin Kaffenberger got his first chemistry kit when he was 12 years old, and ever since then he’s enjoyed the subject. That’s why he spent nine years in the academic setting studying chemistry, having majored in Chemical Engineering at the undergraduate level, and then went on to attend graduate school for Biological Chemistry.


Justin says that he always enjoyed science and math, so he knew from an early age that he would pursue a STEM-based career path. Ultimately, he attributes much of his passion to two talented chemistry teachers he had while in high school, each who was able to enthusiastically relate chemistry to the real world in a way that made it very accessible.


H.B. Fuller is excited to spotlight these extraordinary chemists for National Chemistry Week and looks forward to continuing to engage in efforts to promote the value of chemistry in everyday life.


If you have a passion for chemistry and are interested in working for H.B. Fuller, search for open jobs here.

H.B. Fuller is excited to spotlight some extraordinary chemists for National Chemistry Week. Learn more about the difference each one of them is making.

 

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