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Empowering Women in STEM: A Conversation with Jessica Bauknecht, Chemical Engineer at Nova

At the forefront of innovation in the male-dominated field of chemistry stands Jessica Bauknecht, a dynamic force within Nova's CTO Advanced Technology team. Nova's Advanced Technology team is dedicated to pioneering advancements in chemical technologies, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in various industries. In this interview, Jessica shares her journey of breaking barriers and empowering other women to pursue careers in STEM.

Jessica, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. Can you start by sharing a bit about yourself and how you found your way to Nova?

Absolutely, my path at Nova began after completing my Master's degree in Chemistry. I was drawn to Nova's commitment to innovation and was excited to join the Advanced Technology team. The opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects for a company in a newly established team was too good to pass up.

That's wonderful to hear. Can you tell us about the projects you're working on at Nova?

We focus on pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the field of chemistry. We're explicitly told that we need to think outside the box. We're constantly exploring new methods and technologies to develop innovative products and solutions. From refining existing processes to pioneering groundbreaking techniques, every project is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact. We have a blocked time slot where we all come together to brainstorm. Most of the times someone has an idea that another person has experience in and so we build on each other’s expertise and ideas to build new technologies. We ask ourselves what does our industry need? Is there already a technology that can be done better? Or faster? How can we develop this technology inhouse? And then it all falls in line with the support of so many colleagues across various departments.

I find it exciting to expand my knowledge base this way. While I learned a lot during my time at university, many topics were only briefly covered. Here at Nova, I have the opportunity to dive deeper into specific areas, depending on the projects we're working on. It's a fascinating journey of continuous learning and professional development.

Wow! It sounds like a very creative work experience. What is it like to work in such an innovative team?

Our team is characterized by collaboration, support, and a shared passion for innovation. We LOVE to brainstorm! We're a very close group that values each other's contributions and fosters a sense of professional and even personal unity. What I value most is that we can all be ourselves and we have a nice diverse mix of characters in the team, which makes our brainstorming sessions much more creative. Lastly, when things get tough, we always have a bit of chocolate to calm the nerves

Chocolate always does the trick! As a female chemist in a male-dominated industry, what has your experience been like working at Nova?

Stepping into a predominantly male environment, I wondered if I would be taken seriously or if my ideas would be dismissed. But working at Nova has been incredibly empowering. While the industry may be male-dominated, I've never felt limited or held back because of my gender. Nova fosters a culture of inclusivity and encourages diverse perspectives. I've been able to thrive and contribute meaningfully to projects, knowing that my voice is valued. In the past year, I've demonstrated that gender plays no role when it comes to passion, dedication, and expertise. I've thrived in this industry by continuously developing my skills and refusing to be hindered by prejudice. I was able to network and connect with many male and female employees across many departments and whenever I need help someone is always there to help me. In fact, some of my most cherished moments here were when my manager and his manager both congratulated me on my work and highlighted how happy they were to have me in their team. In all honesty, my experience at Nova and based on where our world is nowadays I don’t feel that there are “men’s” and “women’s” jobs anymore. It’s more about working in the right environment that supports you and celebrates who you are.

Powerful words indeed. Do you have any final advice you would like to offer to other young women aspiring to pursue careers in STEM?

My advice would be to believe in yourself and never let anyone else define your capabilities. The STEM field is brimming with opportunities for women to thrive and make a difference. Seek out mentors, cultivate your skills, and don't be afraid to push boundaries. Remember, your unique perspective and contributions are invaluable, and the world needs more women in STEM. Don’t let them scare you away! You got this 😊


We are on the lookout for brilliant women and men to join our dynamic teams.

Click here to learn more about Nova and the currently available job opportunities  link: https://www.novami.com/careers/working-at-nova/

Nova Team
Nova Team

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