Smaller Classes, Industry Connections Set Biochemistry Grad Jennifer Chin up for Success

Jennifer Chin biochem major sitting outside Barnes and Nobles

Meet Jennifer Chin, a 2015 graduate from the College of Science & Mathematics. She is from Clarksboro, NJ (Gloucester County) and works for FMC Corporation, an agricultural sciences company, as an associate scientist doing formulations. Today, she will share with us her journey from her Rowan University experience to her work at FMC. 

What inspired you to major in BioChem?Rowan alumna Jennifer Chin, a biochemistry major, sitting outside on a bench on Rowan Boulevard

Initially when I started, I was pursuing teaching math. As I took courses, I felt like I needed something more. Then I switched to bio and then after that I was like, ‘I think this is OK.’

Then I saw biochemistry and said, ‘Wow, this is interesting.’ I switched to BioChem and I really loved it. I feel like at Rowan especially when I was here, it was much more chemistry based for biochemistry, which I really enjoyed and liked.

Why did you choose Rowan University?

I chose to come to Rowan because they offered smaller classes. I could get more information, it was more one-on-one. I know that for [larger schools] they have massive classes and I felt like I would have drowned, especially when I was first starting out because of my personality. I wanted something smaller, I didn’t want to get overwhelmed.

How has Rowan University impacted your life?

Rowan has given me more exposure — meaning, the people I have been connecting with, networking. When I was here at Rowan, I was under [Dr. Gregory] Caputo, he was my research adviser. It was my junior and senior year that I was in his research lab. In his research lab there were other students, and we all got really close. After college we all diversified, but we are still constantly learning from each other and meet up. Every person has their own industry experiences and we all talk about science. So, now post-college I still have all those connections and networks and still count with them.

Rowan alumna Jennifer Chin takes a selfie with Dr. Gregory Caputo
Rowan alumna Jennifer Chin with Associate Dean Dr. Gregory Caputo.

How has Dr. Caputo impacted you?

I can’t even begin to say how much he has helped me. I think Dr. Caputo was my very first instance of how the industry actually works because there is a huge difference between academics and industry. By being in his lab, you get exposed to experiments that aren’t always going to work out 100% of the time, like they are supposed to. And I think that really helped me realize what to actually expect and to have that scientific mind of going through the process.

How well do you think Rowan prepared you to go into the industry?

I would say it prepared me in terms of knowing how to do research or how to figure out an answer. Academically it did prepare me for basic knowledge, but when you go out in the industry is a lot of how you figure out how you’re going to figure it out. So, I think Rowan helped me by knowing how to research a problem and how to figure it out.

What are you currently doing?

I work at FMC, and it’s an agricultural company. We make crop protection products like fungicide, insecticides and herbicides. Graduating college agriculture was nowhere on my list, I didn’t even know it was a thing. But then I got hired for a temporary position and I was under formulations. I got exposed to a lot of chemistry formulations and I absolutely fell in love with it.

What I tell a lot of people is yes, you want to enjoy your work, but find an environment where you are comfortable with the culture. It’s the people you work with and I feel like any job is 70% the people and 30% the job.

As a formulation chemist, what does your daily routine look like?Rowan alumna Jennifer Chin working at FMC

Recently, it has been going in really early, but it depends how much chaos happens during the day. The earliest I’ve gotten in, has been between 5:30 and 6 a.m. There have been times where I have been doing 80 to 90 hours a week. That is why you have to love what your doing.

My day consists of going in and checking emails, then I stay at the lab from sun up to sun down trying to get lots of things done. There’s formulation making, then physicals are performed on them, to see if they actually turned out the way you wanted them to be.

What is your favorite thing about Rowan or your favorite experience?

The people, and I think what I really loved was my research group. I would definitely recommend it to new students of biology and chemistry to join a research group, because that definitely has helped me a lot in the industry and it’s just great exposure to science.       

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Story by:
Iridian Gonzalez, senior journalism major