After she graduated from Duke University with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a concentration in biochemistry, Aymara Janes worked as a high school teacher for a year.
She decided it wasn't for her, so she moved to Texas and began working as a quality health and safety chemist at oil and gas service company Tetra Technologies Inc. After two years, she was promoted to supervisor and moved to a technical sales role.
Janes went back to school at the University of Houston to pursue a master's degree in chemical engineering and then was hired as a co-op with LyondellBasell in 2016. She began working full time in 2017 and moved to Morris, Ill., as an olefins engineer in 2019.
She is also working on an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where she serves as the vice president of professional development for the Business Leadership Club, a student-run organization, as well as actively participates on other university activities.
"I am fairly new to the industry, but my interest began when I was a co-op and had the opportunity to participate in a co-op exchange where I travelled to our La Porte, Texas, and Lake Charles, La., sites and to see the end product, something I had never done before. That was the foundation to the start of my curiosity in this industry," Janes said.
Janes was pre-med during her undergraduate studies but decided not to return soon after graduating.
"I feel that finding my path as an engineer and working in such a cool industry has taught me that there are multiple ways to give back to the community and be overall successful," she said.
Data is the future, according to Janes, and she is interested in data analytics and how it can be used to help model and predict not only "unit performance but the market itself."
"One of the cool things about this industry is there is always improvement and ways to get better," she said. "So, if you want to join an industry that keeps you on your toes and challenges you every step of the way, definitely look into it."
Janes said, in the future, she would want to have a job with an optimization role where she can "have a direct say in what we run on a daily basis."
Her mentor is Jennifer Cunningham, a senior engineer at LyondellBasell.
"She is awesome," Janes said. "She listens and observes and gives me a very objective opinion to make me better as a person. Jennifer has helped me grow and learn in ways I didn't anticipate, and I hope to return the favor to the next generation of women workers."
Read Plastics News' viewpoint on Women Breaking the Mold, and find links to other profiles.