GODFREY – Victoria Wieseman, 19, of Worden, Illinois, is celebrating her new year with a new job as a chemical operator at Sigma-Aldrich in St. Louis.
Wieseman finished the Process Operations Technology (PTEC) program at Lewis and Clark this past fall—after just more than one year in the traditional two-year program—all while earning honors each semester.
“I am excited to be starting a new job as a chemical operator,” Wieseman said. “I knew I wanted to work with chemistry, so this program was a great match for me.”
A 2014 graduate of Staunton High School, Wieseman came to Lewis and Clark’s PTEC program on a recommendation from a high school teacher and has returned to Lewis and Clark this spring to continue working toward a degree in chemical engineering.
“I would recommend the program to students who are interested in the processing industry, who are not afraid to work hard, get dirty sometimes, and who like to apply math and science knowledge to their work,” she said. “The career outlook is good, too.”
PTEC Program Coordinator Linda LaCoe said there are employment demands for PTEC graduates, both regionally and nationally.
“Our students are highly recruited, and the average graduate can expect to earn an income ranging from $50,000-$80,000 annually, immediately upon completing this two-year degree program,” LaCoe said.
PTEC Instructor Gene Peters said Wieseman was an exceptional student who set herself up for success.
“Vicky is a dedicated and talented student with a tremendous work ethic,” Peters said. “She is the type of student that we look for in our program and that employers recruit.”
Wieseman said Peters inspired her to work in the field and further her education.
“Gene is a great mentor,” Wieseman said. “He understands the field because he spent many years working in the industry. Gene and all of my instructors have encouraged me to continue my education in chemical engineering. It feels good to already be working in the field while continuing my educational goals.”
Wieseman has earned a spot on Lewis and Clark’s President’s List every semester. She has earned several scholarships, including the Phillips66 PTEC Minority Scholarship, the George Oehler Jr. Memorial Scholarship, the Mark Mansholt Memorial Scholarship, the Illinois State Auctioneer’s Association Scholarship and the Staunton FFA Alumni Association Scholarship. She is a member of the Prairie Youth 4-H Club in Prairietown, Illinois, where she is active in community services. She also is a member of the Staunton FFA Alumni Association.