Aileen’s Story

Aileen Calletano

Synthetic Chemist

Health Sciences

Aileen’s Story

Aileen Calletano is a synthetic chemist at Cascade Chemistry, a chemical manufacturing company in Eugene, Oregon. Like a cook perfecting a dish, Calletano makes compounds for clients and refines their recipes.

Growing up as a woman of color, Calletano found few role models in the sciences, but with the encouragement of her high school chemistry teacher, she pursued the subject in college. She eventually earned her graduate degree in chemistry, with a focus – and fondness – for polymers (the compounds that make up things like plastic cups, t-shirts, and silly putty).

Calletano loves that every day in the lab feels different. “You’re working on different compounds. You’re working with different teams. So it’s always exciting.”

When I was growing up, I didn’t really see anybody that looked like me in the position that I’m in right now. And I just want to show other younger girls and other younger people of color that they can be successful in a career like this.

Now go in-depth with Aileen in an extended Q & A session!

Download the Lesson Plan

And follow along in your classroom!