Intern Spotlight: The Lab in Full Color
Katherine Quast joined the FSW team back in August of 2016. Her role as a Lab Tech Intern in the Dalton Laboratory is to support our Lab Supervisor, Mike. This lab specializes in carpet, rug, and textile applications. Because of this, Katherine received specialized training on equipment used in these industries. She also was exposed to the specifications, testing, and procedures the carpet and textile industry abides by. Great exposure, since Dalton, GA is the hotspot for these industries.
Her favorite part of working in the lab is creating the final dye presentations for our team of salesmen. “It’s rewarding to take our dyed-out sample results and present them in a way that showcases our work. It’s a great feeling, like “Hey, our dyes are good and they work, see!” Katherine explained. By far her favorite part of her role, she enjoys seeing lab results that will work for our customers.
Some of her daily responsibilities include running transmission tests on production batches, checking samples against standards, preparing dye-outs of batches, and basic testing for solubility and density. Much of her work directly interacts with operations, as she gives the final “OK” of a batch that is ready to be packaged and shipped to a customer. She stays busy in the lab, working alongside Mike, who she’s enjoyed having as a supervisor. “I enjoy watching Mike work, I learn so much by how he approaches his R&D work and carries out a project through to a final presentation. We work together on many of these projects, so I’ve gained valuable lab experience in the process,” she said.
This lab experience is carrying over to her classwork. A chemistry major set to graduate the end of this year, Katherine explains the need for chemistry students to have professional lab experience, “Most openings after graduation are looking for applicants with prior lab experience outside of school. This is why I wanted to start building my resume and work in a lab like FSW’s.” Field experience is important, as it is more fast-paced and variable than the typical lab work experienced in class. “I not only learned how demanding working in a lab can be, but also how the industry interacts with real-life purchasing and selling demands. This I can’t experience in school,” Katherine explained.
“I’m impressed how everything coincides. It takes many departments within the company to produce our products, it’s not just our work here in the lab or production. It takes a team!” she expressed. She also learned how the local textile and carpet industries operate together in her community.
She’s enjoyed her time with FSW and continues to work with us for the exposure she’s gotten to her field. “I really like FSW, it’s an intimate culture where I get one-on-one training and a flexible schedule that works with my class load,” Katherine explained. The flexibility to modify her work hours has been a huge benefit for her, as she’s been able to maximize her time both in school and at work by having the option to choose hours that work for her and FSW. “It’s laid back, and it’s allowing me to get the most out of my time here and succeed in school,” she said.
Katherine will be graduating in December 2017 with her Bachelors’ in Chemistry. She looks to work in the cosmetic industry, and will look to pursue grad school in cosmetic science after graduation. We wish her the best of luck on her journey in the chemistry industry!
Are you interested in real-world lab experience similar to what Katherine experienced? See our internship opportunities and contact us!