We have taken this occasion to interview one of our many science heroines. Activities by experts such as Doreen Dunst, Application Specialist, not only promote the role played by women in science, but also science itself.
In our interview, you will learn more about Doreen’s work and her reasons for studying science in the first place.
What is your job at Fette Compacting and what do you do exactly?
As an Application Specialist, I am part of the Consulting Team at Fette Compacting. I help customers to resolve issues and solve problems, which appear during the tablet production process. This primarily involves the interaction between the tablet presses and the powder formulation. That means I need to have detailed knowledge of the machines and their individual components but also have to understand the powder characteristics. With this knowledge, I can coordinate the processes and eliminate any challenges that arise in production.
What inspires you about your work?
What I like most is that my tasks are very diverse: the work on the tablet presses involves a large technical and mechanical component, which means I can also reach for the tool sometimes. In addition, there are the process engineering components, i.e. understanding the entire powder characteristics in the manufacturing process. The behavior of the powders can change, for example, through granulation, mixing or even during storage and transport. The various powder components can also react with each other or with external influences such as air humidity or the oxygen content of ambient air. All of this can influence behavior during the tableting process. And then there is a theoretical component: we conduct experiments, evaluate data and compare them with each other, which always brings up some interesting results.
Each powder and each process is unique in their own way. Therefore, there is no general solution for all application problems encountered by our customers. Each problem requires individual consideration, and often the appropriate solutions can only be found through experimentation. I like the challenge and I am fascinated by the fact that the quality of the tablet can be influenced by so many individual factors.
I didn’t want to have a pure desk job and at Fette Compacting I found exactly the right mix for me. Through my tasks, I also have a lot of contact with different customers and am always meeting new people. That’s something I really enjoy. And then, of course, there’s my great team, which also plays a major role in all of this.
What motivated you to study science?
I was already very interested in the natural sciences at school, and I particularly enjoyed math and chemistry. But I also found technical contexts and processes really exciting. So, I quickly found the right course of study and decided for biological and chemical engineering.
And then everything fell into place: during my studies, I realized that I was particularly interested in new problems and their solutions. I discovered my affinity for process flows and particle technology and knew that I would like to deal with them in my professional life.
I think it is always important to listen to your gut feeling and trust your own strengths. But you also need to have a bit of courage to take what may be an unconventional step. For me, I can say that this kind of study was exactly the right decision.
How can your science change the world?
Tablets can fight disease, alleviate pain and improve quality of life. The production of tablet presses is however a prerequisite for manufacturing such medication. It’s a great feeling to be part of this process and to be able to make a contribution – even if it is only a small one – by helping to improve product and process quality with our know-how about the tablet presses and various powders.
I like the thought and the feeling of being part of a team that is always finding new solutions to constantly emerging problems, thus supporting development and production in the area of pharmaceuticals, and helping to improve the quality of life of many people.
What would you advise girls and young women hoping to pursue a career in science?
You should always pursue your own interests and not be discouraged by what others say or think. I was lucky to grow up in a very open environment and I could pursue my interests at school, for example through science days or visits to research institutions like the DESY (German Electron Synchroton national research center). These offers were aimed equally at boys and girls, so I was able to pursue my interest in science at an early age.
What always helped me with my career was talking to other people who already found their way, but who have also been in the same situation as I was. I recommend taking advantage of opportunities such as open days at the technical universities. There you can talk to students and employees who often had the same doubts before they decided to study. These kinds of exchanges helped me a lot to make my decision.
You shouldn’t let others make you feel insecure and you must have confidence in yourself. By the way, this doesn’t apply only to women and girls who want to go into science. Rather, I would like to give it to everyone who is faced with a major decision: have the courage to go your own way, free of prejudices and clichés, because that is what ultimately makes us happy.