Dr. Jessica Jarman ’99 works as senior project manager, regional technology affairs Europe, for Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. SABIC has more than 35,000 employees in more than 50 countries across the world. Jessica is based in Geleen, Netherlands, where she leads a team of highly skilled developers working on “140 or so global research projects.” The researchers create or improve different kinds of products including chemicals; commodity and high performance plastics; agri-nutrients; metals; new grades for car bumpers, food packaging, and drinking water pipes; and healthcare apparatuses that are phthalate free.
“My primary focus is in portfolio leadership and research management. I started as a bench chemist in the analytical chemistry field, moved into lab supervision, and then into business process management/development. This meant a switch away from instruments and toward behaviors and decisions. I led a major building renovation along the way. It’s tough to be the one driving change, but I can’t seem to stop myself!” Jessica says her training as a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt taught her to get the most information from the least amount of work or investment and to make data-based decisions rather than emotional choices.
A chemistry, voice, and religious studies triple major from Evans, Georgia, Jessica earned the Munroe Scholarship and a talent scholarship for voice. “Wesleyan afforded several unique opportunities such as an internship at Mercer Medical School, tailored research projects, and the knowledge of how to look very broadly at career opportunities. My senior year was spent deciding between the workforce and graduate school in the fields of chemistry or religious studies.” Jessica says faculty, such as Chemistry Professor Dr. Glenda Ferguson, were instrumental in building her confidence and her professional success. She went directly from Wesleyan to the University of Georgia to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry. “Wesleyan developed my critical thinking skills and my ability to pursue why questions. Small classes with individual attention helped me internalize knowledge in a way that doesn’t occur in a large lecture hall. These skills are still incredibly relevant in my career today and are too rare in too many work environments.”
This article ran in WESmag Spring 2019 issue.
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