June 11, 2015

Le '15 Turns Internship at Harpoon Brewery into Full-Time Job

May Le '15, who majored in chemistry at Emmanuel, landed a job as a Quality Assurance and Quality Control Technician at the Boston-based Harpoon Brewery after only five months of interning.

May Le '15

As a recent Emmanuel graduate, May Le '15 said she went from being an intern to a full-time employee at Harpoon Brewery in the blink of an eye.

The chemistry major and management minor joined the Boston-based Harpoon Brewery team as an intern the quality control lab in January 2015.

"The experience at Harpoon really helped me in determining where I wanted to be in the future. I enjoyed the atmosphere, and they welcomed me into their family, which made a better experience for me," Le said.

Nearing her May 2015 graduation, Le applied to jobs all over the country, but she soon realized she wanted to stay in Massachusetts. She asked her supervisor if there was a position open at Harpoon. After her supervisor spoke with his boss, they offered her a position as a Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC) Technician.

Her responsibilities as the QA/QC Technician include chemical analysis to determine the color, International Bitterness Unit (IBU) and pH levels in the brews. She also has some microbiology responsibilities when she's collecting and plating beer samples to see if there is any contamination.

"From January until now, my experience at Harpoon has been fantastic," Le said. "The atmosphere here is awesome. There are times where I need to be serious, but there are times when I don't need to be. It's great that I can joke with my boss."

Le said the chemistry department helped her and made her realize all the career opportunities that were available. She said faculty members gave "phenomenal advice" about the real world to prepare her for different obstacles.

The Emmanuel alum didn't always want to pursue chemistry; she started her college journey as a biology major with an interest in pre-med studies. As time passed, Le grew to enjoy chemistry more than biology and her career path began to change. Le said Associate Professor of Chemistry Christine Jaworek-Lopes sent chemistry students information on the many career paths one can take with a chemistry degree. Le looked through the list and was drawn to food science, so she began looking for jobs in breweries and wineries.

While at Emmanuel, Le was a laboratory assistant for Organic Chemistry I and II for three years and a laboratory assistant for General Chemistry for a semester. She was secretary of the Chemistry Club for three years and a member of the Biology Club and Asian Student Association (ASA).

Looking to the future, Le sees herself working at Harpoon while pursuing an MBA.

Her advice to current students and other young alums, "If you're getting any degree, don't think that you're limited to that one field.  There were times when I just thought, 'I can only use chemistry to work in a lab in the medical field,' but there are plenty of career choices out there that you can decide on."