Young Alum of the Month: Linda Herrera

Name: 
Linda Herrera
Title and Company: 
Kemin Industries Discovery Research (KIDR) Fermentation Research Associate II at Kemin Industries, Des Moines, Iowa
Hometown: 
Des Moines, Iowa
Major and Graduation Date: 
Microbiology with an Emphasis on Medical and Food Microbiology, May 2008
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

In the KIDR group, I participate in the management, development, planning, and execution of fermentation projects using wild type and genetically modified microorganisms.  I perform research for the optimization of fermentation methods, product development, and scale up of protocols to production.  I communicate my work to others within and outside of Kemin via oral presentations, written research papers and reports, as well as recording experiments in my laboratory notebook.

What you like most about your job/position: 

I learn something new every day, no exception.  The work environment provided at Kemin allows for employees to constantly step out of our comfort zone and take on challenging tasks.  Working for a company that has the vision of “improving the quality of life by touching half the people of world everyday with our products and services” makes me feel like my drive to make a difference is being satisfied with the things I do every day.  Since Kemin has scientists conducting research worldwide for development of ingredients for use in food, feed, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products gives me the opportunity to interact with people that have diverse backgrounds and expertise in a vast array of scientific disciplines.

 

I also participate in extra Kemin sponsored community outreach activities including being an Ambassador to visitors on our campus, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and being a part of the planning committee for our annual fundraiser for Youth Emergency Services Shelter.

What advice would you give to current students: 

-Make change a way of life.  In the sciences we see constant examples where species adapted to new environments for survival, this is what we must do to be successful in our careers.

-Always keep your mind open to learning new and different things.  The sciences are ever expanding fields which require all professionals to keep up to date with advancements made and think of innovative ways to solve problems.

-Play an active role in your future, become a well-rounded individual.  Don’t wait for jobs or internships to find you.  Seek out all the ways possible to gain experience in your field before graduation.  Having spent time working in Academia and Government during my undergraduate years and now in Industry for three years, I have seen too many people graduate that have the grades and book smarts, but don’t have the experience to do the jobs they were hired to do.

Favorite ISU class:

My favorite ISU course, hands down was Medical Microbiology.  The class and lab portion were both equally eye opening.  In this course I came to realize the long road that has been traveled by scientists before us to better public health.  I was also shown the long road that awaits our new discoveries, to continue making advancements for the greater good.