Cover Up: A Lead Microbiologist for a Cosmetic Manufacturing Company
In this week's career blog, we talk to Samuel Aidoo, a Lead Microbiologist at Gordon Laboratories, a certified skin, hair, and body care manufacturing company. After obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from California State University of San Bernardino, he worked as a lab tech in a water testing facility, and then did quality control for another cosmetic manufacturing company.
Describe your job and what do you do on a day to day basis?
As a lead microbiologist for a cosmetic manufacturing company, I have to make sure that my team and I have all the required resources readily available to maintain the lab at a fully functional state. Daily, I go through a checklist of tasks and prioritize what needs to be completed first. Some of these tasks include reviewing microbiology results and interpreting them for team members; making sure lab supplies are filled; verifying that calibration, cleaning, and verification check logs have been completed; checking to see what media needs to be made; making sure all samples that are submitted for testing have been received and logged into the computer database; and also making sure that the lab is clean at the end of each day.
How did you get into your current position?
I had previous experience working in other microbiology labs. While working at a water testing facility, I learned the basic concepts and techniques utilized in industrial microbiology, such as aseptic technique, plate count methods, cleaning methods, and maintenance and usage of vital equipment like autoclaves, biosafety cabinets, incubators, and water baths. I also worked at another cosmetic manufacturing facility where I took the knowledge I had gained and applied it to cosmetics. Here, I learned how to test raw materials, bulks, and finished good products as well as test for the environment through usage of settling plates, swabs, and air sampling machines. I would say that these skills and experiences made me a good fit for my current job.
What can students and postdocs do right now to best prepare themselves for entering your profession?
Utilize resources online to find out what type of work you would like to do as a microbiologist; that is, research, industrial, or clinical work. Look into what types of tests are performed and if you find them interesting. Also, research into the different sectors in which a microbiologist can work in. For example, industrial microbiologist can be found working in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries.
What is the outlook for job prospects in your field?
From what I read from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and seen throughout the industry, employment for industrial microbiologist is growing steadily but at a very slow rate.
What is your one piece of career advice for the next generation of microbiologists?
Do not limit yourself into thinking that entering one line of work as a microbiologist means that you have to continue down that path forever. Build upon concepts you have learned so that you can utilize them elsewhere; especially in other industries that you may find interesting.
It is important to have work-life balance. What is one thing you enjoy doing when you are away from the job?
I enjoy working out and playing tennis! Tennis is my favorite sport. Some days, I like to go to the gym, do some cardio, and lift weights. I am big on calisthenics. I try to incorporate some tennis into my routine after workouts. It is a great way to maintain staying fit on and off the court!
Do you want to share your career with our readers? Email us!