Because They’re Worth It: LSU BE, ChE Students Intern with L’Oréal Cosmetics
June 22, 2021
BATON ROUGE, LA – LSU Biological Engineering junior Miller Dickerson loves makeup just as much as the next woman, but her main interest as a summer intern at the L’Oréal plant in North Little Rock, Ark., is to save the environment.
Dickerson, who hails from Hot Springs, Ark., is interning in L’Oréal’s Environmental Health & Safety Department and says she has had an amazing experience so far.
“I’m learning about industrial wastewater treatment, plant safety, employee training, and L’Oréal’s sustainability initiatives,” she said. “I’m working on a huge waste reduction project in conjunction with the packaging engineers that will potentially save tons of waste annually, as well as money. I’ve been able to do lots of different things so far, and I can’t wait to learn more.”
L’Oréal is the world’s largest cosmetics company that develops products concentrating on hair color, hair care, skin care, sun protection, make-up, and perfume. The company, founded in 1909 by Eugene Schueller in Paris, sees billions of dollars in revenue each year. Some of the company’s subsidiaries are Lancôme, Maybelline, Garnier, Urban Decay, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, and more.
Over the years, L’Oréal has committed to creating less waste, managing water sustainability, fighting climate change, respecting biodiversity, preserving natural resources, foregoing animal testing, and investing in nature.
L’Oréal NLR is the company’s largest global manufacturing plant. The facility is one of five in North America, with its 450 employees producing more than 250 million color cosmetics annually. The 800,000-square-foot facility uses a nearby hydroelectric plant for its energy and, in 2017, installed a 3,528-panel solar array that provides the plant with 10 percent of its power. The plant has also attained a 100 percent waste recovery rate, meaning nothing is sent to a landfill.
“I am so impressed with L’Oréal’s commitment to our environment,” Dickerson said. “I think seeing a large company take the initiative to make a difference is so amazing. The average person can do their part and it might not make a huge difference, but a big company can make positive changes at mass. As L’Oréal is a leader in sustainability, I believe other companies are following, and this is a great step towards a cleaner future.”
Dickerson’s internship is also a way for her to combine her love of femininity with STEM studies.
“I am a member of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at LSU, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Delta Gamma sorority, and a campus representative for Victoria’s Secret PINK,” she said. “A STEM role in the beauty industry was super appealing because it bridged my diverse interests.”
After she graduates in 2023, Dickerson hopes to pursue a medical degree or PhD, even though she is enjoying her time in the cosmetics field this summer.
“I applied for this internship to see how I could use my degree outside of the classroom,” she said. “I’ve been on the fence about what field I want to go into after I graduate, and I figured this would help me narrow that down. I am so thankful for the opportunity to explore the STEM field further, especially within the beauty industry.”
LSU Chemical Engineering senior Ololade “Lola” Adeola is also interning with L’Oréal, though her summer internship is taking place at the L’Oréal Research and Innovation facility in Clark, New Jersey. Adeola has always had an interest in the cosmetics industry and is working on a makeup remover formula that is more effective and eco-friendly.
“This has been one of the best internship experiences I’ve had thus far,” she said. “I’m innovating a makeup remover formula to increase the efficacy of the removal of makeup while sticking to ingredients committed to protecting the environment and enhancing sustainability.”
Adeola, who is from Baton Rouge, wanted to apply for an internship with any cosmetics company at first but said L’Oréal’s dedication to protecting the environment was a huge attraction.
“I was really drawn to L’Oréal after learning the history, mission, and vision of the company,” she said. “I’ve already been inspired just in the past few weeks of working here. I’ve modified my daily practices. Instead of buying multiple plastic water bottles, I’ve switched to using a canteen. I’m more mindful of my plastic and paper use now.”
Over the past year, Adeola, who is also a biology major, has served as an LSU Thermodynamics student instructor and tutor, as well as a L’Oréal USA 2020 Diverse Future Leader.
“As an SI and tutor, I enjoy communicating scientific content to those with little knowledge on the subject matter,” she said. “Specific expertise includes mentoring black and minority students in STEM, collaboration and team building on various group projects, and teaching complex engineering concepts to students who struggle with the subject matter.”
In 2020, Adeola was one of 50 candidates chosen from 400 to participate in the inaugural L’Oréal USA Diverse Future Leaders Sophomore Fellowship, where L’Oréal develops a unique community of diverse students from across the U.S. and provides them with access, education, and mentorship within the business world so they may become future leaders of the corporate world.
Lucky for the cosmetics world, Adeola plans to work in the cosmetics industry after graduating.
“Hopefully I’ll work full-time for L’Oréal,” she said. “I truly enjoy what I’m doing and can’t see myself working in any other field.”
Contact: Libby Haydel