Chemistry major Emma Giarrocco creates chemistry careers resource for peers

Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Emma Giarrocco is a senior chemistry major (B.S.) with a minor in Spanish. For the past two summers, she has taken her chemistry knowledge outside the classroom as an intern at Estee Lauder. Founded in 1946, Estee Lauder creates and sells skincare, makeup, and fragrance products in over 135 countries and territories.

For Emma, the opportunity to have an impact on real-world products was a major draw. In her first summer as an anhydrous chemistry intern, she worked on reformulating lipstick for the company’s Tom Ford brand at their research and development headquarters in Melville, NY. “One of the formulas I created is currently being modified and used in an official corporate Estee Lauder lipstick formula, which is super exciting!” says Emma.

One of the formulas I created is currently being modified and used in an official corporate Estee Lauder lipstick formula, which is super exciting!

Emma Giarrocco

Emma pictured with members of her intern cohort

Another important feature of the experience was the opportunity to learn about the business of the cosmetics industry beyond the lab. Interns had access to Estee Lauder leadership at regular “Lunch and Learn” sessions and were assigned projects aligned with current challenges facing the company, allowing them to make meaningful contributions and generate information that will be used after the summer internship is over. 

In 2021, Emma returned to the company as an emulsion chemistry intern, formulating sunscreen in the Estee Lauder Treatment lab with the goal of improving the SPF and stability of the products.  Emma also had the opportunity to connect with Estee Lauder Companies’ corporate philanthropy, the Pink Ribbon campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness. Emma and her fellow interns were involved in coordinating a fundraiser to support the Breast Cancer Foundation, coordinating a raffle and T-Shirt sale.

As a member of our Emory community, Emma’s engagement has also been marked by a desire to give back. Dr. Tracy McGill recalls Emma’s leadership in building a learning community in the classroom as a part of CHEM 150 and CHEM 260. “At the tables in Atwood 260, Emma was a leader at her table, always willing to listen to her colleagues and invite others into the discussion. She was not afraid to ask questions of her peers and this humble leadership was the foundation of a learning community at her table.”

Emma was also an inaugural winner of the department’s Women in Chemistry Award.

Emma with a lipstick she helped create.

Following her internship, Emma wrote a post on LinkedIn about her experience that went viral. She was flooded with questions from other Emory students hoping to seek out similar experiences. She was inspired to find a way to connect other students with career learning experiences, which led to the creation of a series of articles with career advice and stories in collaboration with chemistry faculty and staff and Emory’s Career Center.

“This resource was created to help students at Emory University find opportunities that will prepare them for careers after graduation,” says Emma. “All opportunities have different advantages that can lead to graduate school, industry, or research positions in the future. This resource is not all-inclusive but rather a starting place.”

The Explore Chemistry Careers resource is available now!