Applying my organic chemistry knowledge in the chemical industry

Jemma Castle
Jemma Castle
Process Development Chemist, Contract Chemicals
MChem Chemistry with a Year in Industry
Jemma's enthusiasm for organic chemistry and her time spent on placement prepared her for her first graduate job in the chemical industry.

Throughout my university studies I always particularly enjoyed organic chemistry and hoped that I would follow a career in this area. After graduating, I began work as a process development chemist at Contract Chemicals, which manufactures fine chemicals.

It’s my job to develop new syntheses and purification routes for these chemicals on a small-scale in the laboratory, and then optimise product yield and purity and reduce costs before the process is scaled up for production on our manufacturing plant.

Working as a process chemist, I use basic techniques every day that I learnt in undergraduate laboratory classes, such as reflux, TLC, distillation, recrystallization, extraction, vacuum filtration and rotary evaporation. I regularly use GC, HPLC, MS, IR and NMR to monitor reactions and analyse products.

The choices I made during my degree helped me to get into this line of career. As part of my degree, I spent a year in industry working as an analytical chemist at the chemical company Innospec Inc. I learnt to use a variety of analytical techniques and gained valuable experience working in the chemical industry.

Jemma Castle

Process Development Chemist, Contract Chemicals

During my masters year, I chose to work on a research project centred around organic chemistry. Picking a final year project that was relevant to my future career aspirations was key to me being offered my current job. My employers sought after candidates with experience in organic synthesis and interpreting analytical data, combined with a good knowledge of organic chemistry.

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