On Wednesday, October 18, Kellenberg Memorial students were invited to attend a STEM Talk about Cosmetic Chemistry. The second offering of this year’s STEM Talk series, the Cosmetic Chemistry presentation was given by Mrs. Maryann Alfieri, a current Latin School parent who serves as Vice President of Research and Development at Estée Lauder Companies Inc., and Mr. Donald Kronenberg ’11, who is a chemist at Estée Lauder.
The duo was able to shed light on the wide range of chemistry career possibilities in the field of cosmetic chemistry, including formulation, analytical, physical, and organic chemists, as well as package chemists/engineers, process engineers, biochemists, pharmacologists, toxicologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, statisticians, and chemical researchers.
In his role as a chemist at Estée Lauder, Mr. Kronenberg ’11 is part of the Global Formula Value Creation Group. The three main aspects of his job include working closely with engineers and production facilities to correct and prevent any manufacturing issues; working with the raw material group to ensure they can continue to produce their products when issues arise with the availability or quality of incoming materials; and working with regulatory affairs to keep product formulas compliant with all the various regulations around the world.
Mr. Kronenberg, who received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Stony Brook University, reflects on how his time at Kellenberg Memorial prepared him for the challenges of succeeding in such a demanding major in college saying, “Kellenberg taught me the importance of time management and helped me develop a great work ethic, which became invaluable when I started getting into my more demanding courses in college and, eventually, my
personal career. It was pretty funny listening to people complain about a three-page paper or a three hour exam in college and explaining to them the concepts of comps and trimesters that we all took in every subject.”
He goes on to recount the courses and teachers that impacted him, saying, “Since I have a chemistry degree and a career in STEM, I have to give a shout-out to my science teachers, especially Mrs. Frem and her Food Chemistry Friday lessons. But I would also like to bring up Mr. Huggard and his Christian Morality class. Mr. Huggard’s passion for teaching and the attention he pays to his students, both inside and outside of the classroom, are things people strive for in their careers. It’s an inspiration for me to continue to make sure I continue to do what I am passionate about.”
Mrs. Alfieri, who manages seven laboratories worldwide and oversees about 100 employees, gave advice to those thinking about careers in chemistry, saying, “There are tons of opportunities out there… the biggest thing is that whatever you decide to go to school for, you have to be passionate about it and it has to be something you’re going to want to do for the rest of your life. If you choose a career solely based on money, you won’t be very happy, and I also don’t think you’ll be very successful. You have to do something that you believe in. The best way to figure out all the options that are available to you is to talk to people, join clubs, get internships, and do volunteer work in the industries you want to learn about.”