Sabrina Trupia is the Research Director for the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) in Madison County and has been conducting research and learning more about ethanol at NCERC since 2009.
NCERC is located at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville and is the only center of its kind in the world. It is the only facility in the world at which corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, advanced biofuels, and specialty chemical research is conducted simultaneously.
From petri dish to intermediate and pilot scale, NCERC is fully equipped with the technology and expertise needed to meet any research or technology validation needs – and Sabrina gets to oversee all of it.
Lindsay: What are your primary responsibilities at NCERC?
Sabrina: I am the principal scientist in all client projects, project lead in fermentation laboratory services, and grant-funded lab research projects, in charge of laboratory quality control, safety and methods.
Sabrina: One of them!
Lindsay: What do you love most about your job?
Sabrina: I love that we study ways of utilizing agricultural products to make the world a better place. Also, because of the variety of projects we do, there is always a lot to learn and it is a good place to apply one’s scientific creativity.
Lindsay: What skills/education do you believe have helped you to be successful?
Sabrina: I do have a PhD in Chemistry, but I think that the skills that have helped me most to be successful are my flexibility and curiosity. I am always looking to improve my understanding of the processes that we study and I am always looking for cutting-edge solutions.
Lindsay: How did you land in this job? What was your path or journey to this career?
Sabrina: I came to NCERC in 2009, after working in the biodiesel/anaerobic digestion fields in the Northeast. Ethanol was one of the biofuels that I was also interested in and was looking to expand my portfolio of bioenergy knowledge, so when I heard of the opening at NCERC I immediately applied. I think it’s has been a very good mutual relationship.
Lindsay: Based on your experiences, do you think young people today should be considering careers in agriculture?
Sabrina: I definitely think that agriculture careers are an excellent career choice for young people, because agriculture is of paramount importance in our world and whatever their discipline, understanding the importance of agriculture can only make ag better.