Today’s featured IMR Woman In Science has taken a bit of a roundabout route to her current role as Quality Manager for our Portland lab. Alexis Puerta’s career in science began with a great experience as a chemistry major at St. Benedict in Minnesota. She found a love for teaching and set her sights on becoming a college professor. During her pursuit of a Ph. D in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, Alexis realized that academic research was not one of her strengths, so she opened her vision to other career possibilities in the sciences.
After teaching chemistry at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for 2 years, Alexis landed a job working in the Analytical Chemistry department at IMR-Ithaca. Her youthful interest in problem solving using math and science was in full bloom in her role. Becoming a fully trained analyst on every type of instrumentation in the Ithaca lab led to her advancement to Lead and Technical Expert. This “time in the trenches” enabled her to polish her teaching skills, as well as the ability to troubleshoot instrumentation.
Her experience in Ithaca proved to be invaluable when she was assigned to create a complete Chemical Analysis department in our Portland, Oregon lab. Ultimately, Alexis was promoted to Quality Manager, but she finds her scientific background has allowed her to understand all the analytical services the lab provides.
Alexis believes a key attitude a girl or young woman interested in a science career is to “It’s OK to change your mind!” She says, “Dedicate yourself to a task/job for a reasonable time period and then make an assessment if you’re in the right place. If you’re not, shift paths toward where your strengths lie.”
With so many interesting industries and applications, “don’t be afraid to try something new- even if you’re not qualified.” In her experience, Alexis has found that “most often, people are hired because they have shown themselves to be adaptable, and are ready to learn new things- not necessarily because they are an expert in the job they are being hired for.”
Her career path has proven that advice to be true, and IMR Test Labs is fortunate to have Alexis Puerta on our team. #WomenInScience