Stephanie Bartlett '15

Stephanie Bartlett quote


Utah Valley University (UVU) alumna Stephanie Bartlett ’15, biotechnology, is a Sr. R&D chemist at DECIEM, which is the umbrella company to a number of popular cosmetics brands like The Ordinary, NIOD, and Hylamide. In this Q&A, she details how UVU helped her combine her experience in cosmetics with biology and chemistry.

What was one of your favorite memories at UVU?

One of my favorite memories while attending UVU is definitely the research I was able to be a part of the Ogden Lab. I worked with a great cohort of students and took part in many projects I never would have been exposed to otherwise. I loved the hands-on lab work, going insect collecting in Southern Utah in the summer, and presenting at science conferences.

What was your path to your current career?

I studied biotechnology because I was working in the cosmetic industry while attending school and wanted a better fundamental knowledge of chemistry and biology as a way to advance in the industry. Because I was working in a lab while attending UVU, I would learn certain chemistry or biological principles in class and think about how I could apply it to projects I was involved in at work.

What does a “day in the life” look like for you?

A work day for me can be very dynamic. My responsibilities include supporting my team of development chemists in formulations, staying up to date on industry raw materials and regulations, overseeing pilot lots at manufacturing facilities, and connecting projects to key aspects of product development.

What is your favorite part of your job or what are you most proud of and why?

An aspect of my current position that I appreciate is the interaction with so many departments outside of Research & Development. I try to learn as much as I can from team members within my department, as well as from other departments so that I can have a better holistic understanding of how my role fits into supporting business needs. It’s also really nice to celebrate with the entire team after a new product launch!

What is one of the key issues your industry is facing and your thoughts on addressing this challenge?

The personal care industry is very much driven by trends. I love that consumers are taking the time to educate themselves about the products they’re using, but there’s a lot of misinformation about chemicals that are perpetuated online. Before buying into some of these trends, one should have a healthy skepticism towards sweeping, oversimplified statements and be diligent about cross-checking information.

What advice do you have for someone interested in your industry?

University is not a one-way channel to a specific career at the end but rather an introduction to a spectrum of career possibilities. There are many entry points into the personal care industry that utilize a variety of skill sets. Keep an open mind about where your studies will take you.

What are three transferable skills that you think contribute to professional success?

  • Working effectively as a team: There are a lot of steps in between creating a product on the lab bench and launching that product to the market. I work closely with regulatory groups, analytical and clinical testing labs, manufacturing, and marketing. It takes collaboration from the entire company for a successful launch!
  • Problem solving: Formulation chemistry is very much trial and error. When formulating, I’m constantly thinking through possible causes of instability and what solutions can be tested.
  • Strong communication skills: Being an effective communicator is invaluable. It enables one to teach and learn, speak and listen, and know when and how to contribute to a common goal.

What’s something about you that might surprise people?

I’ve completed four multi-day treks through UNESCO World Heritage Sites on three different continents.

Why does UVU matter to you?

The thing that I appreciated most about the biotechnology program at UVU is the hands-on approach to teaching and learning that was integrated throughout the entire degree. This practical approach of "learning by doing" provided me with the confidence to take risks and drive innovation in my career thus far.


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