Kettering University was one of 11 colleges and universities represented at WACKER Chemical Corporation’s ‘University Day’ in August.
The intent of the day was to provide university officials with a better understanding of current industry needs as well as a site tour of the Wacker facility located in Adrian, Michigan. Dr. Montserrat Rabago-Smith, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Kettering, and Venetia Petteway from Kettering’s cooperative and experiential learning department participated in the event on behalf of Kettering.
“WACKER is interested in attracting and recruiting good, well-rounded talent,” Rabago-Smith said. “Their facilities are very impressive, and I think there would be good opportunities for Kettering students in co-op positions there.”
WACKER is a globally active chemical group headquartered in Munich, Germany. Founded in 1914, the Group operates 25 production sites, supplying more than 3,200 products to more than 3,500 customers worldwide. With a wide range of state-of-the-art specialty products, WACKER is a leader in numerous fields and industries. Its products are required in countless high-growth end-user sectors, such as photovoltaics, electronics, pharmaceuticals and household/personal-care products.
During the University Day activities, company officials were able to share information about the company as well as convey current and future workforce needs while also offering suggestions for how curriculum could be tailored to prepare students to fill those needs. An advantage for Kettering students, particularly students in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology and Chemical Engineering programs, is the intensive lab experience they get early on as undergraduates.
“The industry needs students who are well-prepared and can contribute immediately to projects,” Rabago-Smith said. “At Kettering, our students have the opportunity to get lab experience earlier than most college students and also the chance to problem solve, collaborate and fix their own mistakes in a supportive environment. We have well-rounded students who would be a great fit for WACKER’s needs, and the tour allowed us to see how faculty can provide experiences for students that will make them successful working for companies like WACKER.”
Rabago-Smith was also excited by other potential opportunities with WACKER, including the potential for students to do thesis projects with company as part of their co-op placement and also the opportunity to partner with faculty for research.
“It was a very interesting tour and I see a lot of potential for collaborations,” Rabago-Smith said.