Celebrating the International Day of Women & Girls in Science, a day championed by UNESCO & UN Women, dedicated to promoting full and equal access to the participation of science for women and girls.
Across our Advanced Materials businesses over 40% of our science-based roles are filled by women. Today we celebrate their work: mentoring future scientists, driving innovation and conducting research & development at TFP, TFP Hydrogen and EFT, shaping products and materials that contribute towards a cleaner, greener world.
In this spirit, we introduce Sue Corah, a Research Scientist at our TFP Hydrogen and EFT Divisions in Schenectady, U.S.A. Sue’s passion for chemistry was sparked during her internship with General Electric Company (GE), propelling her on a four-decade journey marked by a commitment to making a difference.
Sue has extensive experience in Materials Engineering, with a BA in Biology and Chemistry, master’s studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Six Sigma Green Belt, certified Safety Professional, and is a Compliance Champion. Sue’s work spans dielectric materials, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, aerospace applications, and more, making her a STEM leader and ISO 9001 Champion for small businesses.
“My original educational path was to study Biology.” Sue comments “As a young woman, I had hoped to either work in Marine Biology or Cancer Research, both noble career paths. But while in college, I was fortunate to have three consecutive research internships with GE at their Plastics Headquarters. I directly reported to Dr. Dan Fox, who was the inventor of Lexan. A most amazing man, Dan Fox inspired me to consider a crossover to Chemistry. And after graduating with my first bachelor’s degree in biology, I chose to move toward Chemistry, moving into dielectric material development for capacitors where I was fortunate to have another inspiring mentor, Dr. Galeb Maher. At that point, I completed my second bachelor’s degree in chemistry and moved on to Graduate Studies and Rensselaer Polytechnic. I have never looked back!” she says.
Sue’s career spans various roles, starting out as a scientist specialising in dielectric materials development, to working as a scientist focusing on precious metal ink development. She has served as Lead Scientist contributing to environmental leadership at General Electric Research. Subsequently, Sue took on roles as an Environmental Health and Safety Manager at Plug Power, Lead Safety Engineer at Specialty Mineral, and now as a Research Scientist at EFT and TFP Hydrogen.
“You get as much out of any professional role as the effort you put into it. The smart employee learns from each and every role they have. In my case, I found that I was very interested in Health and Safety while at GE, and my next two roles were in a safety function. My most important learning there was that my passion was not in safety, but in materials research, which is how and why I was fortunate to land with EFT.” she says.
The Changing Landscape of STEM Careers.
Sue reflects on the evolving landscape of STEM careers, highlighting the positive shift towards greater gender diversity and inclusivity throughout the STEM community today.
“For early career women in STEM these days, I think that they’ll find a pretty diverse employee population. Which was not the case in my early career experiences! In my first job, I was one of the only women working in the R&D building as I was also the youngest by 11 or 12 years! The rest were men! It’s 2024, and you don’t see that now, which is a great thing. If you go to a conference or convention now, you’ll see a great diversity of men and women, folks from early to mid to late career, all sharing their knowledge and experiences. It’s a great thing!”
Collaboration is King.
Since joining the Advanced Materials group in 2023, Sue has played a pivotal role alongside her team in implementing and significantly expanding TFP Hydrogen’s specialist coating technology for PEM water electrolysers in the US, aligning with the escalating growth of the hydrogen industry.
“Everyone agrees that hydrogen is the way forward, but no one has a real model for how to proceed.”
Sue’s role in the research and development department at TFP Hydrogen and EFT is very much about problem solving and collaboration, spanning from engaging with customers to collaborating with colleagues from Technical Sales team and the R&D team based in the UK – a dynamic that Sue thrives on.
“With the Hydrogen economy being a nascent industry, each and every one of the companies that reach out to us have some idea of what they think they want, but we have to question, is it really what they’re looking for? That’s where I rely so much on our excellent technical sales team to keep us moving in the right direction. It is cross-functional collaborations that makes our team so successful.”
“I love that we’re able to collaborate with our customers and to be thoughtful about how we best meet their needs going forward. We are so excited to work on process development to achieve our customer goals. We have the skills and the team to make this happen!”
Find out more about our Technical team at: Our Technology | TFP Hydrogen Products