July Alexandra Rincon Chacon
I was born/grew up in: I was born in a cosmopolitan city called Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, it is one of the wealthy countries on Biodiversity on South America.
I now live in: Cornwall, Ontario
I completed my training/education at: I completed an Advanced Diploma in Biotechnology and a Graduate certificate Technology Foundation at Centennial College, Toronto. I have a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Fundación America. I also completed a specialization in project management.
What I do at work
I am involved in several different types of work. When I was working on my Advanced Diploma in Biotechnology I started working in a retail store. Today I am the manager of this store. In this role, I work to help improve our sales. I do this by making careful decisions such as how to stock shelves in a way that promotes sales. I also address things like customer service and ordering new stock from our suppliers.
In my role with the Advanced Material Future Preparedness Taskforce, I work with a team of people from around the world. We study and discuss the possible impacts of new materials being developed in science labs. We explore how these could be used to solve problems that we are facing on Earth today.
As part of my before job, I enjoyed working with industry partners on programs that affected their work in water treatment, food science, and development of new materials. Based on their goals, I developed training and research projects that focused on the impact of their work to the real world. This included showing young people how new tools and technologies could lead to interesting careers. Today, I am working as a quality control technician with a company that manufactures industrial paints. Part of my job is to perform chemical tests and analysis to make sure the paints we produce are the best quality possible. I still enjoy working with young people and sharing the exiting possibilities available to them in nanotechnology!
My career path is
I grew up in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. To be honest, when I started studying for my bachelor in Chemical Engineering, I planned to work in the environmental sector or in the oil industry. When I was working on my final project, nanostructures and the infinity of the nanoworld grabbed my attention. That was when my mind changed about my career path. I wanted to learn more and to share my newfound passion with others.
When I graduated I took a position with the National Learning Service in Colombia. This is an organization that offers free technical and technological training programs to Colombians. In this role, I helped increase the enrolment in STEM programs using a project-based approach. I loved sharing my knowledge and using my creativity to try to change the concept of a boring lesson of the chemistry or physics. From here I took a position with a non-profit organization in Los Angeles, California. This organization teaches students the science skills needed for the STEM jobs. I worked here for a year before immigrating to Canada.
In Canada, I continued my education and completed an Advanced Diploma in Biotechnology. While I was doing this, I took a part-time job in a retail store. I continued working there after I graduated, and today I am the store manager.
I still work in technology. I am a member of the Advanced Material Future Preparedness Taskforce (AMPT). AMPT is an international initiative that is working to use advanced and new materials, such as nanotechnology, to solve some of our most pressing issues on Earth. Recently, I took a contract position working as a quality control laboratory technician. I am working for a company that develops and manufactures industrial paint. I didn’t plan on this career path but I’m enjoying it all the same!
I am motivated by
The teaching of topics like nanotechnology is challenging. Working in this area boosts my creativity, and forces me to use common examples to explain important physics or chemical theories. I have the opportunity to use my knowledge to help young people develop their interests and abilities. I love that I get to expand my students’ knowledge of technologies like Atomic microscopy. I also love that I get to help them understand the nanotechnology world and the huge application market of this technology. This helps form a basis for their future study and possible careers.
How I affect peoples’ lives
I get to help encourage young people to look to science and technology as an area of study and work. I am sowing the seeds and growing the curiosity of young people who will become the next generation of scientists. I feel privileged to be doing this.
Outside of work I
I love all sports that involve water. I especially enjoy those that take place on natural bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. As a newcomer in Canada, I found the winter sports very exciting.
My advice to others
We are the luckiest generation with so many advances taking place in science and technology. If you are interested in being involved in chemistry, new materials, and discovering the power these can have for the world, nanostructures and the application of these materials could be for you.