Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32Meet Donna Baek, a chemist at INL Education background: Ph.D. in chemistry from University of Idaho Job description: I use supercritical carbon dioxide, a sustainable solvent, to extract and separate targeted metals from various materials such as used nuclear fuel and end-of-life electronics. This work involves the study of metal-ligand complexes and using high-pressure systems. What led you to become a chemist? I always knew I was going to be a scientist or engineer. As a child, I was interested in how things worked. When I was in high school, I excelled in math and science. I took the basic requirements such as biology and precalculus, but I went a step further and enrolled in special topic science classes like astronomy and genetics. It wasn’t until I was exposed to chemistry lab in college that I decided to pursue chemistry. That is where I applied what I learned from the classroom and put the pieces together. My general chemistry teacher inspired me to reach for the stars. What do you love about your job? The best part of my job is being able to learn something new every day. There’s never one way to solve a problem. Bouncing ideas around and learning to look at a problem with a different perspective is necessary to develop innovative solutions. Being able to collaborate with the brightest minds in science and engineering makes problem-solving much more interesting. Why is your work important to INL’s mission and the world? Part of INL’s mission is to discover innovative clean-energy solutions. Supercritical carbon dioxide is an environmentally friendly solvent used in extraction processes such as recycling. It minimizes waste production and is inexpensive and effective for recovering metals from liquid or porous solids. INL’s team of experts in supercritical fluid extraction is helping us develop groundbreaking technologies to recover critical elements that are used in numerous clean-energy technologies. What advice do you have for future chemists? Never give up. For every problem, there are hundreds of ways to approach and solve it. Some are obvious and others take a lot of trial and error to fully develop an answer. Challenge yourself and others to develop explanations and reasoning to a problem. Searching for a solution can be engrossing—don’t forget to get plenty of exercise, fresh air, nutrients and sleep to maintain balance. Learning is supposed to be fun! $62,000 AVERAGE STARTING SALARY 5 “The best part of my job is being able to learn something new every day.”