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Otterbein senior Isaac gains chemistry experience at Fortune 1000 company

Otterbein senior Isaac gains chemistry experience at Fortune 1000 company

Lauren Heberling ‘19

Internships are an important, and sometimes intimidating, factor of the college experience. However, Elizabeth Isaac, a senior chemistry major and first generation college student, has been making the most of her college experience as an intern at Lubrizol for the past two summers.

Lubrizol is a $6.5 billion company. This competitive internship was suggested to Isaac by Joan Esson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, during Isaac’s sophomore year at Otterbein. She went through the interview process via Skype and was told that she would hear back from the company in a month. Isaac was called back only three days later and offered the position.

During her first summer with the chemical company, Isaac optimized the engine oil additive called Cerberus to increase it's small batch recipe to be scaled-up to the 100 gallon scale. The next summer, she was invited back and saw all of her hard work come to fruition. Lubrizol used her alteration of Cerberus in 100 gallon reactors to run motor tests at various car companies.

While at Lubrizol, Isaac was mentored by Michael Huston ’86, who has prioritized the review of Otterbein students for the internships.

“My experiences and knowledge prepared me for the internship,” Isaac said. “My classes and lab experiences at Otterbein helped me get the position, but it also helped that I researched the company before the interview.”

She knew that Lubrizol was environmentally friendly, a factor that is important to her, and made sure to talk about it with the interviewers.

She was also able to discuss her passion for chemistry. When she came to Otterbein wanting to get involved, she searched for a chemistry club.

“There was a chemistry club, but it wasn’t very active. When the former president graduated at the end of the year, I saw the opportunity to start it up again. The club now has 20 members and participates frequently in outreach programs for children,” she said.  

Her leadership as the chemistry club president has given her opportunities to travel to San Francisco and New Orleans for National American Chemical Society conferences, and has earned her the internship position with Lubrizol.

Isaac hopes to go to graduate school after graduation. She wants to earn her doctorate degree in synthetic organic chemistry.

Learn more about Otterbein’s Department of Chemistry.