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Bright Future Lies Ahead for Florissant Valley Chem Tech Graduate

March 03, 2009

Nicole Robbins  
Nicole Robbins

Nicole Robbins had reservations about enrolling in a two-year college.

“Actually, I didn't want to go initially because there was just a stigma of community colleges, being so close to home,” remembers Robbins. “Once I got there, I absolutely loved everything about it.”

The Hazelwood West graduate began her college career at St. Charles Community College before transferring to St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley, which was closer to her home. Robbins graduated in May 2008 with an associate’s degree in chemical technology.

“I had always enjoyed anything in sciences I just happened to come across the chemical technology program brochure in front of the advisor's department and it seemed like a good fit,” said Robbins.

“Nicole was very enthusiastic. Very hardworking,” said Dr. Sue Saum, chemical technology program coordinator. “She’s positive and always had a good work ethic in class.”

Robbins says all the teachers in the program were helpful and knew her by name, but Dr. Saum in particular was instrumental in her success at Florissant Valley.

“She was the first teacher I had in the program, and she was amazing. She really had a passion for what she was teaching and she was so knowledgeable,” said Robbins. “I will always sing the praises of Flo Valley. I had never ever been in a program where they offered that much support to the student. You can go to tutoring at any time of the day, it's free. There's supplemental learning support.”

Robbins secured a contract-to-hire position at a Florissant Valley job fair in the weeks before graduation. That five-month position resulted in a full-time, permanent position as a chemical technician at Security Equipment Corporation. She notes that many of her classmates also received job offers almost immediately upon graduation.

“I received four other job offers. [Security Equipment Corporation] told me after about a month and a half of working with them that they wanted to hire me as soon as my contract was up.”

Prior to her enrollment in STLCC-Florissant Valley’s chemical technology program, Robbins' only previous experience working in a lab was preparing lab experiments in her high school science department stock room.

Robbins' current job duties include preparing labs for all high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) analyses. Recently, she has been working with the vice president on developing new products and product lines.

“I absolutely love my job. I enjoy going to work every day and getting to do all the different things I get to do,” said Robbins. “It's different every day. There are always new challenges.”