Chemical engineering major Madasen Kasprisin ended up at the University of South Carolina by chance. It was not on her list of universities until her father recommended USC. Kasprisin applied and was accepted into the Honors College.
Four years later, she will graduate next week from the school she initially had no intentions of attending.
The 58-degree temperature was seasonally average for Columbia when Kasprisin first visited USC for admitted students day in January 2018. But it was a tropical paradise for the Illinois native, since there was a blizzard back home. Kasprisin decided to major in chemical engineering because she believed it would combine her analytical problem-solving skills with her love for chemistry.
“I'm glad that I stuck with it. Of course, like every engineering major, there were lots of tears and late nights. But I’m very glad that I stuck it out because I think this is definitely the right major for me. I also did a little investigation before coming to figure out what I was supposed to be doing,” Kasprisin says.
Kasprisin eventually found her niche working in a lab. She contacted Amelia Taylor-Perry, the general chemistry lab coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, who guided her in the right direction. Kasprisin soon became a general chemistry lab teaching assistant.
“I enjoy interacting with the students. Most of them are first-semester freshmen and new to college. They have so many questions in not only chemistry but college life. Now when I walk around campus, I see a couple of those students occasionally,” Kasprisin says.
In addition to assisting freshmen to their new environment, Kasprisin participates in several organizations offering mentorship. As a member of Theta Tau, the college’s professional engineering fraternity, Kasprisin mentored a younger student through their big-little system.
“She's always the first person I text and has really helped me through the new member process. She also makes sure I'm still thriving and doing as well as I can,” says sophomore Lindsey Blair, Kasprisin’s Theta Tau little.
Kasprisin’s four internships were also learning experiences as she prepared for her professional career. In 2020, she was an environmental health and safety intern at Entegris, where she was responsible for policy writing and developing safety regulations. Kasprisin later did a technical engineering co-op at Shaw Industries in Columbia, and at Baxter International Inc. as a pharma research and development intern.
But this past summer, Kasprisin attained her dream internship at Thermo Fisher Scientific as an analytical development intern. Unlike her previous internships, her four months required significant lab work. Her responsibilities included developing formulations for a generic softgel with active pharmaceutical ingredients and preparing and overseeing production of medicine batches to be encapsulated. Kasprisin was recently offered and accepted a full-time position as part of Thermo Fisher’s product engineering leadership development team. She will perform new product development research on a rotational program basis.
“It's taken many trials, tribulations and errors to get to this point, but I'm glad that I've had several internship experiences,” Kasprisin says. “Now I have a full-time job and know that I'll enjoy it because I've seen what I don't like, and the work that I want to do.”
Kasprisin’s experiences at the college and her internships have helped develop her enjoyment of research and development, thanks to performing different scientific tests and experiments to create innovative solutions. Now she will utilize her vast experiences at the beginning of her engineering career.
“I'm very excited that it [Thermo Fisher] will be my full-time job,” Kasprisin says. “I'm very much a person who likes to experience new places, so this is a great opportunity to travel around the country and experience something new.”