RadTech Young Professionals: Alexandra Young and Sijia Huang

The RadTech Young Professionals Committee aims to help young professionals’ (YPs) growth in the use and development of UV and EB technology. It is a group dedicated to enhancing interactions between YPs and senior experts within RadTech. YPs are students and professionals early in their careers who utilize UV and EB technology in industry, government or academia.

Alexandra Young is a technical marketing specialist working at Esstech, Inc. She spent seven years as a research chemist, focusing primarily on urethane synthesis and energy-curable materials for a variety of industries, including dental, cosmetic, industrial and 3D printing. Young received her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her MBA from Temple University. Outside work, she enjoys cooking, coaching and playing soccer, and she recently has started training for her first triathlon.

Sijia Huang is a Lawrence fellow working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Huang received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2020. Her research focuses on designing and formulating new resin systems for additive manufacturing. Outside work, she enjoys snowboarding, rock climbing and backpacking.

RTYP: What is your background, and what are you working on now?

AY: My undergraduate degree was in biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomaterials. This translated really well to Esstech’s historic business in the dental industry. It has been a really cool transition for me to branch out into a wide variety of industries beyond medical and dental. Now, I help coordinate our research lab activities with our business development group to help fill emerging market needs and specialized product requests from customers.

SH: I received my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2015. After graduating, I worked at 3M in designing photopolymers for coatings. I still remember the excitement to see the liquid resin quickly turn solid under the UV light. This passion further drove me to graduate school to study the photopolymerization kinetics and structure-properties relationship of photopolymers. I joined Lawrence Livermore National Lab as a Lawrence Fellow last October. Currently, my research focuses on designing recyclable photopolymers for additive manufacturing.

RTYP: When did you first learn about UV/EB as an industry and technology?

AY: In college, I learned about light-curing technology during my polymer chemistry courses, but I didn’t fully appreciate the scope of the industries that use energy-curable materials until after I graduated and started working at Esstech. Once I started working and seeing how many different applications there are for UV and other energy-curable chemistries, it really opened my eyes to how far-reaching this technology is.

SH: During my graduate school, I went to the Photopolymerization Fundamental Meeting in 2017. It was the first time I realized that UV/EB industry is a fast-growing field. It was very exciting to see that UV/EB technologies have been introduced to such a wide range of applications, including additive manufacturing, medical devices and coatings.

RTYP: What challenges have you encountered as a young professional?

AY: I think when I was just starting as a research chemist I struggled with having enough confidence in my knowledge and experiences to make meaningful contributions. As I have had opportunities to apply my knowledge and experience success, my confidence definitely has grown.

SH: One of the challenges I faced as a young professional is the uncertainty about the career path. Right after graduating, we need to think about what career path we are going to pursue. It would be great if YPs have a chance to talk with some experienced people in the UV/EB field to learn more about their prospects. Therefore, I am very excited about our RadTech Young Professionals Committee. We aim to connect students with experienced people from the industry to help YPs learn more about different career paths.

RTYP: How could more young professionals be encouraged to get involved in UV/EB technology?

AY: I think that raising awareness will definitely help encourage more young professionals to get involved. We are very excited to host our first in-person YP event during this year’s RadTech 2022 in Orlando. Beyond that, we plan to host virtual events and create resources that will allow young professionals to network, ask questions and build their professional skill sets. Connecting with universities will be really helpful so that students and recent graduates can be informed of these opportunities to connect and learn.

SH: We highly encourage YPs to join us at RadTech 2022 this May. It will be a great opportunity to connect with industry partners and build social networks. There will be more than 80 exhibitors from all different UV/EB areas. RadTech YP committee also will host our first in-person meeting at the conference. Please also visit our LinkedIn website. We will introduce more networking events soon.

For more information, email yp@radtech.org.