To say Amy Weiskittel is passionate about science is an understatement.
Her official title is a research chemist at the LyondellBasell Cincinnati Technology Center, but she references herself as a polymer microscopist in the research and development of polymer characterization.
So what does that mean?
Breaking it down, Amy is a scientist that uses a microscope to do research on plastics. She may measure and identify the different layers in a food package wrapper or analyze a black-speck within a container to figure out exactly what it is.
She frequently compares her role to the television crime drama, “CSI,” minus the criminal aspect.
Amy holds a bachelor of science in biology from Northern Kentucky University and as much as she loves science, her other passion centers around teaching. For Amy, it was a natural fit for LyondellBasell to get inside local classrooms and teach Explore & Experiment, an educational enrichment program that ignites an appetite for students around experiments and showcasing how science is part of everyday life.
“I was highly influenced by my high school chemistry teacher (Mr. Dennis Cornelius, a.k.a. “Mr. C”) who always came up with creative ways to teach and share,” said Weiskittel. “I remember him coming into the classroom wearing numerous coats to help explain the electron shells.”
Amy said she tries to generate the same excitement and inspiration around her science presentations as “Mr. C”.
“I love watching them get as excited about science as I do, and seeing their expressions as they open their minds to new possibilities or understanding ideas they may have never thought of before,” said Weiskittel.
Not only does Amy teach Explore & Experiment, she is also a coordinator for the program organizing classroom requests, tours and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based learning activities. Additionally, Amy helps write the lesson plans to ensure requirements are being met by the National Science Education Standards.
“By supporting local schools through the sharing of expertise in science and technology, we can demonstrate what we do and how we make products better through science and chemistry,” said Weiskittel.
In addition, Amy previously served an advisor for the Chemical Laboratory Technology program at Cincinnati State, as well as an Ohio Environmental Education Fund Peer Reviewer for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Most recently she was appointed to the Environmental Education Council by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. She also serves as a primary presenter at the Teachers, Industry and Environment Conference sharing science with Ohio teachers on the chemistry of polymers.
A lot has changed over the span of her 28 year career history. For example, the advancement for women in science-based careers isn’t as obsolete as it was for Amy.
“STEM is really opening the eyes for young girls in a very positive manner,” said Weiskittel. And although she enjoys the technology and data, Amy will be the first to admit flashy science experiments still catch her eye.
“I gravitate toward experiments that are very visual or hands-on. Those hands-on ‘wow’ factor experiments are my favorite! And let’s face facts, if the gets kids excited about science, that excites me too!”
About LyondellBasell’s Cincinnati Technology Center
The Cincinnati Technology Center is a state-of-the-art research center encompasses approximately 260,000 square feet of research and office space. This center contributes to our business and to society by assisting customers in developing the most efficient and effective polymer materials for their applications. We also assist our manufacturing units and our customers in reducing manufacturing cost.