Name: Priscila Estrada
Job title/position and company's name: Laboratory Technician at Yara Suomi, Siilinjärvi site
Studies: Vocational Qualification in Laboratory Technology, Savo Vocational College, Kuopio, Finland


What was your dream job as a child? What led you to your school of choice?

I don't remember having some special dream job as a little child. As I grew up, becoming an engineer came to be the thing I wanted the most, although I wasn't sure what area of engineering I wanted to work in. During my high school years, it became clear to me that chemistry was the area I enjoyed the most.

What does your company do/manufacture? What kind of innovations is your company working on?

Yara mainly manufactures fertilizers, but the Yara Siilinjärvi site is way more complex than that. The site has the only phosphate mine in Western Europe which open pit is the largest in Finland. Also, in addition to a fertilizer plant, the site counts with a sulfuric acid plant, a nitric acid plant, a phosphoric acid plant as well as a power plant.

What are you most excited about at your job?

Since I am quite new at my current position, I am still learning a lot which is very motivating and exciting. I enjoy that there is enough routine but the samples and tasks can change from one day to the other, and thus there is also variation. I like that the work that is done in the laboratory has an important role in terms of product quality and safety, so I feel my work is meaningful. I also get to work with great colleagues and the overall working environment is very positive.

Priscila´s career on a timeline

I grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ever since I was a little kid, I have always enjoyed learning and going to school. My favorite subjects in middle and high school were math, chemistry, physics, and foreign languages. English was taught in school, but I also took German language courses during high school.
I wanted to become an engineer and finally decided to enroll to a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the University of Guadalajara and specialize in environmental engineering. At the end of the second year of my studies, I got the idea of taking a gap year and go to exotic Finland as an au-pair to learn to speak Finnish. Turned out that my plans changed. I stayed to live permanently in Finland and didn't return to the university to finish my studies.
A few years later I moved to Siilinjärvi and started studying at Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Kuopio. It wasn't possible to study chemical engineering in Kuopio so I graduated as an environmental engineer. After getting my degree, I worked in a product development project and some stages of the project were done in the laboratory, which I enjoyed greatly. During the coronavirus pandemic, I was unemployed and decided to go back to study, so the laboratory area was a clear choice for me. I could integrate the new studies with my previous experience.
As part of my studies, I got a summer job at the factory laboratory in Yara Siilinjärvi and I realized that the chemistry area was indeed the area I really wanted to work in. Also, a site like Siilinjärvi, with such a big impact on the environment, offers a great possibility of joining both the chemistry and environmental areas.
Lastly, I can say that my summer job didn't quite end after the summer. I continued my studies and I still occasionally go to work to the laboratory. Next January I'll start working permanently as a laboratory technician at Yara.