Meet Ana Solorio, a Chemical Engineer for DuPont.
Problem solving was always a common theme in what I enjoyed in school. My father, an engineer, was an influence as I was deciding on a degree. I probably wouldn’t have considered engineering if I hadn’t already been exposed to it. I wanted to develop skills to solve problems that would impact people’s lives. I knew that engineering school would offer the mindset and give me the tools I needed. It was great to know I would have a plethora of opportunities to make an impact. Therefore, becoming an engineer became my dream.
I studied Chemical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis where I was privileged to be part of a couple of programs in which I was surrounded by driven, kind, and inspiring peers. The two programs were the Annika Rodriguez and James E. McLeod Programs. The advice from the director of the Rodriguez program was instrumental throughout my studies. While I was learning how to balance all of the math and science classes, she encouraged me often and always offered wise words. My parents were also pivotal while persevering in my dream to become an engineer.
I got involved with research in labs and internships, but it was my experience in a co-op with DuPont that led me to where I am today. I enjoyed that experience so much that I joined DuPont and have worked in various roles over the last three years.
When I first started working, I was often the only woman in the room. Asserting my thoughts and comments, while not being interrupted or dismissed, was a struggle sometimes. However, I did not let myself overthink too much and I made sure I kept voicing my thoughts. It has been helpful to find mentors, both women and men, who I have observed behave in a way that I connect with at work. I have received some fantastic advice and perspective from them.
One of the projects I greatly enjoyed was troubleshooting and solving a problem that a customer was having with our product. The quality issue was lasting longer than usual and the team was not able to determine the cause. The team asked for me to get involved since I had the manufacturing and process perspective. Designing the tests to determine the issue and going to the customer site to verify if the hypotheses were correct was an exciting project.
I also enjoy that almost every day is different. If you want to enter a field in which you have an overflowing amount of options to put your skills into action, be a chemical engineer!