Hildenbrand interns as lab technician

MINOT, N.D. – Haley Hildenbrand, a senior majoring in professional chemistry at Minot State, got used to hearing “no” while looking for a summer internship.

“I was applying for different internships where you go to graduate universities for chemistry and work with graduate students on their research. I applied for a million of those, and I was like, I’m going to get one of these,” Hildenbrand said. “I got rejection after rejection, and that was horrible.”

Aside from applying to assist graduate research, Hildenbrand applied at a North Dakota company one of her professors — Chris Heth — had suggested to her.

“Dr. Heth sent me an email and said sign up for this. It was just a kind of, maybe, whatever, I’ll fill it out,” she said. “Then after I got all those rejections, I thought, I can’t believe I’m putting all my eggs in one basket. I hope I get this one job.”

Finally, the Minot State basketball player from Colorado got a call for an interview at Dakota Gasification, a company in Beulah that produces CO2 from coal for fracking operations in Canada.

“I went down there for my interview because you have a choice between Skype and an in-person interview and apparently that made all the difference for me,” Hildenbrand said. “I went down there, and they showed me around the place — the lab and everything. I was like, even if I don’t get this job, I got to see the lab. It was so cool.”

Hildenbrand said that seeing a lab in action was a special experience.

“They do a pretty good job telling you what it will be in the industry after school’s over, but I hadn’t really seen it for myself,” she said.

A month after the interview, Dakota Gasification offered Hildenbrand the internship as a lab technician.

“I work in the chemistry lab there. It’s so freaking awesome, I don’t know what other words I can use to describe it, it’s such a cool job,” Hildenbrand said. “Besides the gasification process, they have a bunch of other products that we sell: plant fertilizer, they make that on site, they do a couple of other ones, like tar oil and stuff like that, so they sell more than just CO2.”

“We have to test all of these samples to test for different things and impurities to make sure they’re putting out a good product and all that.  Make sure everything’s what it’s supposed to be and that the plant is running well,” Hildenbrand said.

She hopes to return to the company once she graduates from Minot State.

“My goal is to go back and work there because it’s such a great company and a great job,” she said. “I’m just very fortunate that all of my classes here have really helped me prepare for this internship. I would not have been able to survive if I hadn’t taken organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, all that fun stuff.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 08/30/19   

» More MSU News