Extreme Engineer | Extreme Engineer: Tami Mace | More ...
Jets - The Pre-Engineering Times
Profile: Tami Mace, Polymer Engineer, Kimberly-Clark Corp
Education: B.S. in Fashion Merchandising, University of Georgia
In high school Tami
wasn't really that interested in math or science.
She decided to major in fashion merchandising at the University of Georgia—where she joined a sorority and participated in a plethora of campus activities.
Upon graduating she
got a job as an assistant manager in a retail store and got married.
It didn't take long for Tami
to realize that her
career choice wasn't what she
wanted to do for the next 40 years.
One of her
favorite courses in college was a textile chemistry class.
When she saw an opening for a technician at Kimberly-Clark focusing on absorbency she decided to apply for the job and got it.
At Kimberly-Clark she
received a lot of on the job training and found her
interest in math and science.
She also discovered that Kimberly-Clark would pay for her to get an engineering degree.
Even better yet, she found a mentor, Oomman Thomas, a Ph.D. and experienced polymer physicist, who took her under his wing and tutored her in calculus and physics.
Within three months she
was getting straight A's and had developed a love for those subjects.
to work part time.
In addition to five years of intensive prep work to enter the masters program, she
managed to find time to get married and start a family.
was finally admitted to graduate school at Georgia Tech
in 2001, with sponsorship from Kimberly-Clark
took advantage of the company's program that allowed her
to get paid while going to school.
developed all the materials for Dentaburst.
The front panel is bumpy to remove plaque from your teeth.
The back panel stretches to fit all fingers and the elastic properties keep it from falling off.
worked to develop laminates to keep your finger dry while brushing.
incorporated as much existing technology as possible and modified them as needed.
For a fresher experience, the team added a powdered version of toothpaste and had to develop an edible (food grade) adhesive to keep the paste on.
The two different front and back materials are heated with ultrasonics to fuse the front and back together and cut the pieces out.
For Love of the Job
job is exciting.
never does the same thing twice.
says this job provides her
with a constant evolution of learning.
design background in fashion merchandising has also helped her
in making prototypes look more like a finished consumer product.
Tami has also made a commitment to mentoring, both at Kimberly-Clark and in working with students at Georgia Tech. "When you're 18," she says, "it's hard to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life.
College kids are stressed and need support.
Talking with a mentor helps maintain a perspective and realize opportunities.
In addition to mentoring, she
seeks out mentors in her
"They can help you get better at things that aren't your natural skill set.
gets help from a friend who is a whiz at formulating things.
In turn, she
with investigative lab work.
Even though Tami
took a circuitous route to find her
dream job, she
got there, and truly enjoys the challenges and opportunities for creative thinking that each day brings.