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Tim Deschaines

Chemistry Alumni

           I’m Tim Deschaines, and currently I work as a Raman Product Specialist at Thermo Fisher Scientific.  I’m with the Molecular Spectroscopy group that is based in Madison, Wisconsin, though our company has offices and branches all over the world.  What do I do as a Product Specialist?  It is a very diverse role, with a lot of interesting activities.  First and foremost my role is to be the knowledge expert on the laboratory Raman instruments that we sell and manufacture, and the applications that can be performed using our instruments.  I work with our field based sales and applications people, helping them with technical questions about our instruments.  If needed I might help support our service people if there is a situation involving a customer who needs help with an exotic application or hardware for our instruments.  I help prepare marketing materials – on-line webinars, application and technical notes, articles for publications, specification sheets, or any other kind of content.  I also interact with the R&D, manufacturing, engineering, and software groups based in Madison on topics involving the manufacture of our current instruments, design of upcoming products, and all sorts of special projects.  I have gotten to do a reasonable bit of travel in my role as well, attending and working at trade shows and conferences, meeting with customers, working with our sales and applications people, and training our own Thermo people, plus distributors and customers.   I have had the opportunity to travel in India, Spain, England, Canada, and all over the United States, and interact with an amazing variety of people. I have greatly enjoyed the travel opportunities and meeting so many diverse people.  One of the reasons I enjoy my job is that I never know what interesting thing may cross my desk; each day is a new adventure.

All of these activities mean I need to stay current with the role of Raman spectroscopy in any kind of analysis.  I do this by talking with all the various people who use our instruments, both our customers and our own applications scientists.  I haven’t gotten away from the chemistry I studied; in fact I call upon it every day, because every day I get new and interesting questions about applications.  I also spend time working with our various instruments, in particular our dispersive Raman microscopes, but also FT-Raman, plus a range of other instruments we make here in Madison: FT-IR, NIR, UV-Vis, and X-ray detectors for SEM.

                Before coming to Thermo I have had an interesting career path.  Right out of graduate school I was a Postdoctoral researcher at the Boston University Photonics Center, which provided a transition into a position at a small Raman instrumentation company that had been created and spun off of the Photonics Center.  I then was a general chemistry lecturer at the University of New Hampshire a laboratory instructor at Middlebury College in Vermont.  I decided to take my career path in a different direction and made the transition from the academic world to the corporate world.  My experience at UW has been the cornerstone in preparing me to succeed in all of these different roles.

                Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my wife, we both enjoy cooking and all types of interesting cuisines.  This is only encouraged by our love of travel and exploring new cultures.  Madison is an amazing place to live with all kinds of activities no matter what you might be interested in.  Of course there is an amazing wealth of food opportunities which we are always exploring.

My time as a graduate student studying Chemistry at the University of Wyoming was critical in my development not only as a chemist, but also as a professional and a person. Working in the laboratory, classroom, and teaching labs formed the core of my chemical knowledge, and that knowledge and desire to learn continues to grow outside of school. My interactions with the faculty, staff, other graduate students, and the undergraduate students were essential in preparing me not only to do chemistry and be a chemist, but also in interacting as a team member inside my research group, to collaborate with other research groups in the chemistry department and with other departments across campus. The professors in the department did a great job of preparing me for my career outside of graduate school. My career has taken many interesting turns, but no matter where I have found myself and no matter what I have done I have had relevant experiences I can call upon that have prepared me.

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