Sea Devil Zachary Hatcher is a second-year student in CFCC’s Chemical Technology program with plans to graduate this May. We chatted with Zachary about his experience in the program, his internship at Quality Chemical Laboratories, and his plans after graduation! Here’s what he had to share.
How did you hear about CFCC’s Chemical Technology Program?
I heard about CFCC’s Chemical Technology program after the pandemic first began. I was at another community college getting my Associate in Science degree, and everything moved online, which I wasn’t a fan of. I started researching and found out that CFCC’s Chemical Technology program was face-to-face.
What has your experience been like in the program? Have you enjoyed it?
I came here not knowing what to expect, and I’ve enjoyed my experience. The chemical lab work is fun, and it is very hands-on. There is so much variety in the program, so it seems like there’s always a career path open.
Can you tell us about the Quality Chemical Laboratories internship you are in?
We do a paid internship at Quality Chemical Laboratories . There are eight Cape Fear students in the internship now. We get paid $16 an hour. This semester we work two five-hour shifts a week. This internship gets your foot in the door; you learn so much about the industry and the real-world aspects of the job beyond the classroom.
What do you do at your internship?
Last semester, we did a lot of monograph testing. We wrote a paper on the standard operating procedure (SOP), which tells you how to work the equipment. We were in the actual laboratory last semester. This semester, we are in our own lab space on campus, and a QCL trainer leads us. We have also done more instrumentation-based work, which we will do a lot of when we enter the industry. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed the experience. We do so much hands-on testing, which interests me the most.
What are your plans after you graduate?
If I stay local, I would like to work in a laboratory here like Quality Chemical Laboratories and pursue more of the pharmaceutical side of the industry. If I choose to move out of the area, there are jobs in this industry across the country.
What would you tell someone considering the program?
I would encourage anyone to explore this program and get their feet wet. It is a growing industry, and you could make a great living.
Quality Chemical Laboratories (QCL) is an expanding pharmaceutical company that anticipates doubling its workforce within the next three to four years. Under the current National Science Foundation grant, up to eight CFCC Chemical Technology students are selected to serve as interns at QCL. These students receive training from various leaders at QCL and receive $16.00 per hour for their time dedication. The internship experience typically begins during the fall semester. Interns can choose to continue their work-based learning experience in the spring semester. Throughout this experience, students earn college credit toward their degree, are paid for their commitment to QCL, connect what they are learning in the Chemical Technology program to industry and real-world scenarios. After graduation, these candidates are encouraged to apply for job openings and fast-tracked as company employees.