Stepan Company Hosts “One-Day Internship” with CICS Northtown Academy and Teach for America

One-day Internship 
Stepan Company is committed to promoting development in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) for local students. 

On May 16, Stepan hosted 18 high school students from Chicago’s CICS Northtown Academy for a “one-day internship” that gave students a real-world feel for a career in chemistry. The participants were selected by their teachers based on their applications and interest in pursuing a STEM subject in college and as a career.   

To kick off the day, students participated in four main lab rotations where they created their own sulfate-free foaming hand soaps, identified which drink their classmate drank using mass spectrometry, watched insulation foam and nylon string polymer demonstrations, and learned about distillation. 

And for the first time, Stepan added four mini-lab rotations to the program to give the students exposure to additional areas of research and development. These 10-minute rotations allowed the students to watch demonstrations and engage in discussions about  agricultural chemistries, laundry, scale-up process and synthesis. 

Also new this year was a presentation about our in-house salon and how we use it to test shampoos and hair conditioners as they are used in the real world. The students watched a video demonstrating some of our testing techniques and learned about how panel testing works. 

The students also attended a microbiology presentation by Senior Research Microbiologist Olivia Arends where they learned about the day-to-day activities of a microbiologist at Stepan and real-world applications of microbiology. The students then had the opportunity to swab various items to see which items are home to the most microorganisms. Their cultures are being incubated and results will be sent to the teachers. 

The “one-day internship” ended with one-on-one meetings with Stepan research and development volunteers where the students discussed their individual goals for college and beyond. Stepan volunteers reviewed the students’ resumes, highlighted academic and career options, and advised students based on their own academic and professional experiences. 

Stepan Company is delighted to have been able to partner with Teach for America and CICS Northtown Academy to provide a fun and engaging experience that demonstrated the real-life applications of chemistry, biology and engineering. Stepan is equally proud of our volunteers for introducing students to the opportunities at a science-centered company and encouraging them to consider a future in chemistry. 




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