Passport to Dow

Your ticket to an advanced degree career!


Introducing the Passport to Dow webinar series!

Brought to you by Dow and SHPE's National Graduate Committee, this series of webinars covered the career opportunities available to Hispanics with an advanced degree in STEM, as well as, specific opportunities with Dow where they are changing how the world works.

A message from Dow, Inc., -

We would like to thank the participants who attended the “Passport to Dow” program. This series of events was meant to give participants an inside perspective of what a career in industry looks like and to provide helpful information to making more informed decisions along their career journeys. Along the way, we hoped that you all got some insight into the culture of Team Dow and the diverse people, jobs, and technologies that the company takes great pride in showcasing. The panelists and speakers from Dow were impressed with the professionalism and interactive nature of the discussions and wish you all the best as you pursue your graduate degrees. Thank you!


  • PAST | Let's Get DOWn to Business - Management Opportunities for PhDs at Dow

    Most graduate students join Dow in positions that are primarily technical in nature. However, with time and experience, other career pathway opportunities are available to those who seek them. This session will provide insight from Dow managers and leaders on the various career paths in management that are available to graduate students at Dow.


    Naoko Akiya is currently the R&D Director for Packaging & Specialty Plastics at The Dow Chemical Company. She is leading a global organization responsible for innovation in specialty and functional polymers, including product development, application development, and process development and scale-up. Her team supports a variety of technology areas enabling growth opportunities in Infrastructure, Consumer, Transportation, and Packaging market segments.

    Naoko joined Dow in 2001 and spent 13 years in Core R&D as a technical contributor prior to joining Packaging & Specialty Plastics as a manager. While in Core R&D, she worked on a variety of technical problems, ranging in scale from molecules to enterprises, supporting many different Dow businesses and functions.

    Naoko earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from Rice University. She earned her MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Michigan, where she was a National Science Foundation Fellow and a U.S. EPA STAR Fellow.

    Dr. Rui Cruz is currently the Global R&D Director for Industrial Solutions at The Dow Chemical Company, responsible for the business innovation pipeline and a global organization dedicated to technical services, process, product and application development for a diverse pool of technologies dedicated to enabling manufacturing at our customers, with focus in key market segments among which Crop Defense, Performance Lubricants, Electronics and Coatings. He joined Dow in Brazil in 2001, having worked in Human Resources, Customer Services, Technical Services, and Research and Development for several different businesses and technologies. In 2010 he moved to Freeport, Texas, serving as the leader for Polyglycols and Surfactants R&D and later for Epoxy Process Research, Amines and Chelants, Plastics Additives and Oil and Gas.

    Dr. Cruz studied Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo and the Karlsruhe University in Germany and holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering by the University of São Paulo, having a strong background in modeling, process evaluation, product and application development, pulp and paper technology, alternative feedstocks and biotechnology. In 2014, he received the prestigious HENAAC Great Minds of STEM Professional Achievement award.

  • PAST | Getting to Know Dow - A Panel with Dow

    This session provided an opportunity to learn about Dow as a material science company, it's culture, and the various disciplines that Dow hires to be a part of the team. The session included a panel discussion with current Dow employees to answer questions and discuss their graduate school journey that set them on the path to industry and to be a member of Team Dow. See below for list of panelists.


    Susan Brown began her career at Dow in 2013 and is currently the Packaging and Specialty Plastics (PS&P) Program Leader. In this role she has led and optimized the interaction between the PS&P businesses and Core R&D with responsibility for populating and driving the technical innovation pipeline for PSP&H technologies. Since her start at Dow, Susan has been involved in the discovery and scale-up of new polyolefin catalysts for the solution and gas phase polyethylene portfolios. Susan earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota where she worked on the biomimetic syntheses of natural products. Hailing from Jamaica, Susan enjoys traveling, hot yoga and scoping out the Houston food scene.

    Juan Callejas is an Associate Research Scientist in Dow Coating Materials. Juan was a participant of the 2015 Dow BEST Symposium and started his career at Dow in 2016 with the Architectural Coatings R&D group in Collegeville, PA. Since joining he has led several R&D programs to develop a next generation premium exterior polymers for North America and the IMEAT region. Juan received a BS Chemistry from University of New Orleans and received his Ph.D in Chemistry from Penn State University, where he studied inorganic nanoparticle electrocatalysts for clean energy applications.

    Yolanda Daza obtained her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of South Florida (2016). She worked at Intel Corp as a Lithography Technology Development Engineer before joining DOW. She joined DOW’s Plastics R&D in 2018 as a Process Implementation Engineer, where she supports optimization of current assets and scaling up new polyethylene technologies.

    Yvonne Diaz is currently a Senior Research Specialist in Dow Performance Silicones. She onboarded at Dow during the start of the pandemic in 2020 with the technical service and development team. Yvonne has since participated in a number of innovation projects and technical support for customers in the commercial and residential insulating glass market. Yvonne holds a PhD in Polymer/ Materials Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Carlos Escobar joined Dow in 2014. He is a Research Scientist in Core R&D. His research focuses on Process R&D of extrusion-based technologies. Carlos’ R&D activities de-risk the commercialization of Dow products by bridging the gap between lab and commercial scales. Carlos holds a Ph.D. in ChE. from Vanderbilt University.

    Kyle McDonald is a Senior Research Specialist in the Engineered Materials product development group within Dow Performance Silicones. His current research is focused on the development of electrically conductive silicone composites for applications in electromagnetic interference shielding (EMI) and electrically conductive adhesives (ECA). Kyle was a participant of the 2016 Dow BEST Symposium and began his career at Dow in December 2017. Kyle received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of South Florida, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan, where he focused on synthesis and applications of novel porous hybrid materials. As a graduate student, Kyle was passionate about and actively involved in inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts at the University of Michigan through his involvement in various organizations and recruitment. This passion for I&D has continued during his time at Dow where he is actively involved in the GLAD employee resource group (ERG, an LGBTQIA+ organization) and is the vice-chair of the 2021 Dow BEST Symposium.

    Michelle Mejía is a Research Scientist in Core R&D Analytical Science. Utilizing her deep subject matter expertise in X-Ray scattering and microscopy, Michelle has worked across various Dow businesses to investigate failure mechanisms and structure-property behavior. Michelle joined Dow in 2010 after earning her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

    Jorge Rubalcaba is currently the Sr. R&D Leader in Plastics Process R&D. He leads the Commercial Technology & Scale-up Team for Dow’s Plastics and Hydrocarbons businesses. Jorge joined Dow in 1999 and has spent his entire career in Process R&D performing different technical and management roles while living in various locations across the U.S. and Europe. Jorge also serves as Dow’s recruiting co-captain for the SHPE National Convention. Jorge holds a B.S. in ChE. from Texas A&M University.

  • PAST | Let's get DOWn to Research - Dow's Technology Innovation

    This session familiarized the attendees with some of the award winning research that many Dow scientists and engineers work on to address real-life challenges. The presenters gave an inside perspective on how projects are initiated and the process to commercialize new and innovative technology.


    Kaoru Aou is a Principal Research Scientist in the Dow Polyurethanes Product R&D department, engaging in development of new acoustic materials and resins for use in emerging electric vehicle applications. He began his career at Dow in 2007 after receiving his Ph.D. & M.S. in Polymer Science & Engineering at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst and an S.B. in Chemical Engineering from MIT. As leader of several R&D projects, he has developed and overseen 4 different product introductions to the market, totaling > $270 million in sales to date, in applications such as memory foam mattresses/pillows and coatings on proppants for oil mining. He is the subject matter expert on the fundamental polymer science of polyurethane flexible foams, and currently serves as the Global Product Technology Leader for Foam and Elastomer Materials Science, as well as the Global Application Technology Leader for Acoustic Materials in vehicular applications. He has 11 peer-reviewed journal publications to his name, as well as 18 granted U.S. patents to his name, several of them tied to products newly introduced to the market through his technical efforts. He continues his ties to Univ. of Massachusetts through annual recruiting efforts as well, and enjoys connecting with the new bright minds in science and engineering.

    Edmund (Ted) Carnahan is a Senior Fellow in Packaging & Specialty Plastics and Hydrocarbons R&D at The Dow Chemical Company. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cornell University in 1987 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991. Following a post-doctoral assignment at Harvard University, he joined the Research Division of W. R. Grace & Co. as a research chemist. Here he investigated the organometallic chemistry of silica, leading to an interest in supported catalysts. In 1996 he joined the Dow Chemical Company as a senior scientist. His research has covered many aspects of olefin polymerization catalysis for solution, slurry, and gas-phase processes. In recent years, his focus has been on using the kinetics of olefin polymerization to manipulate polymer microstructure and provide products with new and valuable combinations of properties. This work includes the discovery of routes for the catalytic synthesis of novel olefin-block copolymer families commercialized by The Dow Chemical Company as INFUSE Olefin Block Copolymers and INTUNE™ OBCs. Carnahan is the recipient of the 2008 Gordon E. Moore Medal and the 2016 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry. He is an inventor on 49 US patents and has published and presented more than 50 papers in the fields of catalysis, organometallic chemistry and polymer science.

    Jackie deGroot is a Fellow in Dow’s Packaging & Specialty Plastics TS&D organization. Her current responsibilities include leading Dow’s global packaging technical teams to help deliver on Dow’s sustainability goal of “Closing the Loop” to enable plastics in packaging to be a part of a circular economy. She is focused on working with our R&D teams and the packaging value chain to design new specialty polymer products and innovative flexible packaging structures to enable their recyclability. Jackie joined Dow in 1988 after completing her B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Trinity University and has held multiple technical and leadership roles in R&D, TS&D, New Business Development, and Intellectual Capital Management.

    Fabio D'Ottaviano is a Senior Statistician in Engineering & Process Science, within Dow’s Core R&D. He began his career at Dow in 2002 within the Dow Fibers Solutions Business as a Technical Service Rep in Horgen/Switzerland and later in Tarragona/Spain. During this time, he worked in numerous application development projects with customers in Europe, Middle East, and the Pacific region. Later in 2010, he relocated back to Horgen as an R&D scientist for the Dow Building Solutions business in product & application development. In 2014 he joined Core R&D in the US as a statistician. Since then, he has developed practical and leverageable statistical approaches to the development and field validation of products of the Oil & Gas, Crop Defense, Composite Materials, Biofuels, Building & Construction, and Textiles platforms of the Industrial Intermediates & Infrastructure business. Fabio has a MSc in Industrial Data Modeling from De Montfort University (Leicester/UK), a MSc in Design Engineering from the University of Manchester (UK), and a BSc in Industrial Engineering from FEI (Sao Paulo/BR). He is an inventor with 5 granted patents and author to 5 peer-reviewed external publications.

    Daniela Ferrari is currently an Associate Director in PS&P&H R&D located in Freeport. Daniela joined Dow Benelux, Netherlands in 2005 and worked on dehydration and octene production technology. From 2008 to 2013 she led the global Syngas to Alcohols research effort. In 2010 Daniela took on the responsibility as the IP focal point for the Energy and Feedstocks division. In 2011, Daniela relocated from Terneuzen to Freeport, Texas within Hydrocarbons R&D. In 2013, she joined Epoxy R&D and became the Process R&D Group Leader. In 2014 she joined Performance Plastics R&D where she later became the group leader for Process Fundamentals. Since 2018 Daniela has been the leader of the New Process Technology Development group in Hydrocarbons R&D and she is responsible for the Circulating Fluid Bed platform, CO2 mitigation and Separations Technology. Daniela earned a degree in Industrial Chemistry from Parma University, Italy and a PhD in Polymer Chemistry from Max-Plank Institute, Germany

    Carlos Villa is an R&D/TS&D Fellow in Engineering & Process Science, which is part of Dow’s Core R&D. He began his Dow career in 2000, as a researcher in the Math Modeling & New Product Development group of Core R&D, where he applied his Polymer Reaction Engineering expertise. In 2006 he joined the Process R&D group of the Polyurethanes Business, where he participated in the scale up of new catalyst technology and the application of modeling techniques for optimization of batch processes. In 2011 he returned to Core R&D, this time to the Reaction Engineering group of Engineering & Process Science. In this role, he has continued to use his expertise to support the Polyethylene and Polyether Polyols manufacturing processes. In his role as project leader, he has collaborated with Prof. Lorenz Biegler at Carnegie Mellon University on the successful Dow implementation of nonlinear dynamic optimization technology. Before joining Dow, Carlos worked for 6 years as a Research Associate at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, under the guidance of Prof W. Harmon Ray. Carlos has a BS in Chemical Engineering from UPB in Medellin, Colombia and a PhD from the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. These days he alternates between modeling and experimental work, and he is also making a return to Electrochemical Engineering, which was his PhD topic and sits at the core of his current Sustainability efforts.

  • PAST | Networking Opportunity with Dow Employees

    Ever wonder what role networking plays in industry? In this session, participants discussed the importance of networking to progress in your career and move your projects along. Additionally, participants had a chance to network with Dow employees.


In order to be elegible for the award, graduate students had to attend at least 2 of the sessions (24 students attended 2 or more, 77 at least 1). Names were chosen randomly.

Travel and Registration Winners

John Toaquiza
Dayane Oliveira
Dora Gerardo

Registration Winners

Sandra De La Torre
Marcos Cortés
Jessica López
Mónica Gordillo
Ashleigh Herrera
Héctor Lozano Pérez
Jaqueline Rojas