This week we got a chance to interview an experience Chemical Engineer, Chanel de Carli. He is a graduate of BSc in Chemical Engineering from State University of Maringá (UEM) in 2006, and then MS in Chemical Engineering & Biochemical Process Development from Federal University of São Carlos.
He has ample technical experience under his belt. Since his graduation, has worked as Process Engineer for Brazilian Aluminium Company and later as Process Engineer Specialist at Brazilian Centre for Research in Energy and Materials. As a Specialist, he has taken an important role within the Research and Development of bio-energy mainly bio-ethanol from sugarcane bagasse. Recently, he has worked as an Industrial Researcher at SENAI within research and development. Not just that, even after graduation, he has kept on improving his portfolio by having gained certificates and courses within Data Management, LEAN, Data Analytics and many other areas.
Undoubtedly, he has strong expertise and in-depth technical know-how within chemical engineering. He is currently looking for new challenges and any company will be lucky to have such experience individual in their team.
How was the workload of your degree? Was there a lot of chemistry within your curriculum?
The workload of my diploma was quite varied with classes in physics, electric circuits, analytical geometry, biotechnology, environmental, automation, financial math, statistics, programming, to name a few. There were a good emphasis on chemistry, these include important chemistry topics such as: general chemistry, organic, inorganic, analytical and laboratory practices.
Why did you study ahead to a MS? Did it help you in any way in term of your job roles?
I have always enjoyed studying and deepening my knowledge on a topic of interest, so I decided to pursue MS. The MS helped me a lot in my job roles, especially in polishing problem-solving skills and opened up new career opportunities.
What topics did you find the most difficult during your degree?
The thermodynamics and mechanics of fluids, I think, are the most difficult for me, as they are very complex topics that require a lot of dedication and a little abstraction to understand them well.
Did you have student jobs during or between your education? How did you get them? Where did you work? How did it help your education or future career?
Yes I did just one in my last year of graduation. It was an internship at a multinational amino acid company. I got this internship opportunity in an interview conducted at the university where some students were selected. The internship helped me to know better the practical performance of the chemical engineer and the real challenges of the profession.
Which industry do you work in? How long have you been in this industry?
I have been working in research and development for 8 years.
What is your daily work routine like? What do you do at your job?
My daily work has always been very varied with tasks that require different skills. Meetings, presentations of results and lectures, project design, process investigation, conducting and planning laboratory experiments, acquiring process equipment or supplies, training operators, generating new ideas, testing, commissioning, evaluating performance, optimizing process/parameters, producing protocols, brainstorming of new ideas.
What are the typical tasks which you have to deal with?
Typical tasks include a lot of calculations, planning of experiments or processes, ensure security in all work aspect, iteration with third parties and partners, commissioning equipment, organizing activities, collecting data, analyzing, presenting and communicating results and insights.
Which topics from your degree do you use the most on the workplace?
Communication, statistics, calculations, physical and chemical concepts, unit operations, problem solving skills.
What hard and soft skills are the most important for your job?
Soft skills: Humility, attention, patience, good communication, curiosity and critical thinking.
Hard skills: computer skills, languages, analytical and technical knowledge.
What is the best thing about your job?
It is a job that makes it possible to put into practice several areas of knowledge and always with many challenges to be overcome.
How easy was it for you to change company and/or jobs if any?
It is not so easy to change company/jobs and adapt to a new position and environment, but it is part of the profession and helps us to grow as a person.
What was your first job after graduation and how did you get it?
My first job was in a plant that process bauxite for alumina production at a Brazilian aluminum company. I found the opportunity on a website in the internet and participate in the interview process with other candidates.
What industry and roles are you applying to work for?
I am applying for positions related to research, development, innovation, education.
Any suggestions for future graduates? Something they should be doing while they are still in university getting their degree.
Trying to apply the concepts learned in the classroom in real practice is the best way to check if there are limitations of these concepts and see new approaches to improve them.
What skills should future graduates focus on during university years?
All education subject are somehow important. Having a wide range of knowledge helps us to see more broadly the world.
Improving soft-skills is a great choice to focus and on the technical side I would suggest see which area is of most interest to you or which arouses your curiosity the most, then choose your focus based on that, and more important, put into practice.
Subjects of great importance today include: clean energy sources, sustainability, carbon reduction, bio-based products replacing fossil sources, processes for circular economy, new medicines, topics that give greater attention and respect to our planet.