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Former WSU CAHNRS student conserves thousands through internship

After her brother became sick from a food contamination, Noelle Diciglio developed a passion for food safety, eventually saving $400,000 in conservation efforts during her summer internship.

Though she originally studied biology at WSU Vancouver, her brother’s sickness led her to transfer to WSU Pullman to study food science where she soon found out about an internship opportunity at Ecolab.

“I researched Ecolab’s mission and found the companies values aligned with my own,” she said. “It was a perfect match for me.”

According to their site, Ecolab focuses on water, hygiene and energy technologies and services to help businesses keep their environment clean, safe and operating efficiently while achieving sustainability goals.

Diciglio said many companies are shorthanded when it comes to conservation efforts and Ecolab steps in to find new ways to conserve either water, energy or time to best suit the company’s needs.

“It is easy for companies to become complacent with how it has always been done,” she said. “They don’t realize and often they do not have time to consider better solutions that could optimize their operations.”

With the thousands of dollars she saved for companies as an intern, she discovered just how quickly she could make a positive impact and soon was able to transfer that to a full-time position as an account manager by the end of the summer.

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Diciglio (right) and her colleague, Ron Hall, at the Washington Association for Food Protection Conference in 2017.

“They offered me experience I knew would be very valuable,” she said.

What surprised her the most was how applicable her food science courses were, especially microbiology.

In the summer of 2018, she will work with CAHNRS students who take those same courses to find new ways to support Ecolab.

They are looking for students going into their junior year with an agriculture, food science, animal science major or something similar.

They are also looking for someone who has a flexible schedule and is a problem-solver. She said social skills to communicate effectively with customers and housing nearby one of their locations is a plus, but at the end of the day, they are looking for someone who is genuinely passionate about food safety.

“It’s important to understand that people’s lives are at risk,” she said. “It’s a big responsibility and we need people who understand that.”

Interns will compete for positions at the end of the summer through presentations of their efforts to the leadership in St. Paul.

 

Katie Shadler, PR Specialist