McNeese Chemical Engineering Major Receives Hands-On Experience in Product Development

McNeese State University senior chemical engineering student Aimee Ingabire recently worked to develop hair coloring products as part of her internship at Henkel Corp. in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Ingabire was assigned to develop a hair color toner and lightener, and with this project, she had the opportunity to see what it was like to design and produce a consumer product at all stages.

“First, I did market research on hair toners and hair lighteners to discover what is currently popular and create a benchmark,” she says. “I decided to incorporate the use of charcoal as an ingredient, because charcoal in hair is trending right now.”

Next, she worked on prototype development with a marketing team and the creation of formulas for manufacturing and production. Ingabire says she used her studies at McNeese constantly throughout the development process, and, while most of her classmates are interested in pursuing careers in industrial plants, she wants students to know that commercial product development is also a viable career option, one with distinct benefits.

“In this position, you’re the one coming up with the whole formula process of how products are produced – at what temperature, at what PH, at what viscosity,” she says. “You see the project from the very start until you actually release the formula to be manufactured. At some point, we’ll probably see this product on the market!”

From Kigali, Rwanda, Ingabire says that she decided to pursue a degree at McNeese after hearing about others’ great experiences at the university.

“My best friend attended McNeese and my friends from Nigeria would talk about the engineering program here, how there were a lot of career opportunities and great professors like assistant professor Dr. Srinivasan Ambatipati, associate professor Dr. Ramalingam Subramaniam and professor Dr. John Griffith,” she says.

While she’s currently planning on pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree at McNeese after graduating, Ingabire says that she believes this experience has helped her decide on her future career.

“I really want to develop and produce these products that people use every day,” she says. “You’re making a difference, and indirectly, you’re helping people make their lives better in ways they don’t even realize.”

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