Estée Lauder Interns Learn the Science of Beauty

By Chris Gasiewski

At first, Ekele Erondu, M.S. ’12, didn’t know what to expect. He had been offered an internship with cosmetics giant Estée Lauder, and after taking a tour of the company’s massive research facility in Melville, New York, the Nigeria native was brought into a principal investigator’s office to talk about potential research projects. Mr. Erondu, who was pursuing a master’s in chemistry, listened and considered several projects before selecting one. His internship researching and attempting to find remedies for propionibacterium acnes, commonly known as P-acne (acne that stays on skin for prolonged periods of time), was slated to be one day per week, but he couldn’t stay away.

“I asked them for more hands-on experience,” he says. “They gave it to me and I really liked it.”

Yuanzhe Guan, M.S. ’12, Sandy Ramcharan ’12 and Ekele Erondu, M.S. ’12, were among 10 Adelphi students to pursue research internships at Estée Lauder in 2011–2012.

 He wasn’t alone. Through the assistance of MaryAnn McKeever ’87, executive director of research and development at Estée Lauder, Mr. Erondu was one of 10 Adelphi science students to obtain an internship at the company during the 2011–2012 academic year. The program with Estée Lauder expanded in the Fall 2012 semester to include information technology and environmental studies students. Some, like Mr. Erondu, were offered full-time positions after graduation, and their individual experiences were invaluable.

“It was a real eye opener,” Mr. Erondu says. “I learned how to present my materials. We did lots of presentations. It helped me practice interacting with scientists and how to get information from them.”

Sandy Ramcharan ’12, who received a B.S. in Chemistry in May, got plenty of research practice at Estée Lauder, having interned there for three semesters and a summer. During her first research project, she says she helped stop the oils from one of their lipstick products from sweating. “We had to fix the ratios around, and add things to see if we could absorb the sweat,” she says. Her second lab experience was in skin care, where she worked primarily on sunscreens. “We tried to increase the UVA-UVB inscription, so I just switched chemicals in and out,” she says. And her third focused on men’s shaving cream.

Ultimately, Ms. Ramcharan was hired full time, but she is pursuing an M.B.A. at Adelphi with the goal of ultimately obtaining a director position in a lab. “When I first came here, I planned on doing something in the medical field,” she says. “Doing the internship changed my whole view. “Adelphi made me a harder worker,” Ms. Ramcharan says. “I don’t think I’d be as committed and devoted to my work at Estée Lauder if I hadn’t developed those qualities at school.”

Yuanzhe Guan, who received an M.S. in Biology in May and researched the effects of UVA and UVB rays on human skin, was offered a position at Estée Lauder after her internship. She says she wants to continue pushing her research while pursuing a doctorate. “This experience makes me very happy to work in the company,” she says. “It helped me find out what I really want.”

This piece appeared in the Adelphi University Magazine Fall 2012 edition.

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