wayne huberty

Dr. Wayne Huberty

Analytical Chemist in the Process Development Center at Albemarle in Baton Rouge, LA 

Dr. Wayne Huberty was born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, and completed his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2009. He accepted his offer to become a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at Louisiana State University.  With interests in polymers, Wayne decided to join the macromolecular division and was co-advised by Professor Russo and Professor Zhang. Before becoming a PhD candidate, Professor Russo required his students to complete a Master’s degree and Wayne successfully defended his Master’s thesis in 2012 and continued his research toward the PhD candidacy exam. His research involved the synthesis of polymers and their characterization. These studies led to publications in the Journal of Fluorescence and Polymer Chemistry. He successfully defended his PhD dissertation in 2014. Wayne was asked what he appreciated most about his time at LSU as a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, and he replied, “The interaction with the professors -- they are wildly smart, and I can only hope to be half as smart as them one day. “

Wayne is currently an analytical chemist in the Process Development Center (PDC) at Albemarle in Baton Rouge, LA. “Being in the analytical department is nice because my success is not tied into a specific project, I have a variety of instruments that I solely run, and I can interact with other smart people. My PhD training was in polymer characterization and synthesis but Albemarle doesn’t do polymers, therefore, I have had to adapt.” The PDC is the research and development hub for Bromine at Albemarle and he is responsible for running the physical measurements lab where they measure particle size, particle, viscosity, surface area, molecular weight distribution, DSC, TGA, etc. “A typical day consists of our ‘customers’ (research chemists at the PDC or other sites globally) submitting a sample for a specific test. I also have opportunities to improve current methods and develop new methods. “

Wayne was asked if there were any important turning points along the way and he answered, “For my career, not yet. I have been at Albemarle since May 2014, not that long. In grad school I would say it was after my MS thesis, I decided that I wanted a career in industry rather than academia.”

If there was anything Wayne would do differently in his journey so far, he stated “I would have been more directed in choices that directed my future. Most of my plans had fallen into my lap, i.e. I didn’t really plan on choosing chemistry in undergrad, I didn’t plan on attending grad school, etc. This may be industry talking, but I think if you don’t have any aim/goal you are sure to hit it.  A 5 year plan may seem weird for a student, but if you have a clear goal in mind, it is much easier to find the steps to achieve that goal. It is OK if that goal changes, but always have a goal.”

Wayne left our prospective and current graduate students with some great advice, “Cherish your time in school, it really is a great time. Read as many scientific papers as you can to broaden your knowledge base – you never know when you may be thrown into something that you haven’t done before. I think the likelihood that you stay in one small niche of chemistry is quite small; I have been asked many questions for things that I have no knowledge about, but could have experienced or read about in school. Be as diverse as you can in your knowledge, have broad interests, and try to tie them all together so you have a knowledge that can apply to everything, if at least in some small way.”

Profile contributed by Ashley Taylor and Carol Taylor