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There's the right chemistry

Enthusiasm and commitment pays off at K+S! Juliane Apelt has achieved what many people wish for. K+S helped her to strike paths she had long dreamed of. Find out more about what the young scientist has achieved.

Even as a child

Juliane Apelt, a scientist at the K+S Analytics and Research Center, grew up in the Werra valley - with a view of the Gerstungen gauging station. The Werra river also plays a major role in her doctoral thesis. The question of early childhood imprinting is therefore obvious. What has connected the 30-year-old employee with K+S for almost 14 years now, however, is her passion for chemistry.

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When, in 2007, K+S offered the dual qualification of high school diploma and CTA training for the first time in cooperation with the Werratal school in Heringen and the Bad Hersfeld vocational school, Juliane Apelt was in the first graduating class. She was particularly impressed by the practical training periods in the K+S laboratories during the third year; her career aspiration to do "something with chemistry" was confirmed.

After graduating, Juliane Apelt first worked in the laboratory in Unterbreizbach for a few months before realizing that she could do even more! The desire for a higher qualification leads her to the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, where she first completes her bachelor's degree and then her master's degree in chemistry. During the semester breaks, she regularly returns to the Werra valley. The vacation job at the Unterbreizbach work laboratory and soccer training at SuFF Raßdorf e.V. are waiting for her. "I always felt very much welcome. My colleagues always took the time to explain everything to me and let me get a taste of new tasks." In this process, she gets to know large-scale analytical equipment that didn't exist at the university. Finally, Juliane Apelt writes her master's thesis in the Analytics and Research Center at K+S.

"The cooperation with the Werratal school is important for providing prospects for young people interested in science in the region and therefore for retaining skilled workers. In the best case, it works as successfully as it did in the case of Juliane Apelt," says Torsten Rest, Head of the Central Laboratory at the K+S Analytics and Research Center. He also offers Juliane Apelt to write her doctoral thesis at K+S and she seizes the opportunity

Juliane Apelt
The career prospects for chemists with a PhD are simply better."
Juliane Apelt

Her most important laboratory equipment has an impressive name: High Performance Liquid Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry Coupling (HPLC-MS/MS). This is an analytical method for the separation and determination of molecules.

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Juliane Apelt was granted a full scholarship by K+S and completed her PhD thesis in three and a half years. "If I had any questions, my colleagues at the plants, at the Analytical and Research Center and in Kassel always lent an ear," she says. "I would love to thank everyone who supported me with a small celebration. Unfortunately, that will have to wait due to corona." The biggest challenge: "Staying focused on my question throughout. All the while, there were other exciting analytics topics right and left." A few weeks ago, things got stressful once again, because the so-called defense of her doctoral thesis was due. "Lectures are not really my thing. Thanks to the coaching of my colleagues, however, I have managed this challenge as well."

Her reward: a job as a scientific employee at the K+S Analytics and Research Center. She is the specialist for liquid and gas chromatography measurement techniques with mass spectrometry couplings. Instead of outsourcing analyses, more samples will be evaluated internally in the future. This is made possible by Juliane Apelt's favorite analytical method.

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