Siobhan Conroy '11
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My fondest memory of Hofstra was the late night studying with my friends in the library and/or dorms. During finals, we would spend so much time together, studying and helping each other with the material. During the studying period, I would have not considered it a fun time, but looking back, it was the best time I had in college. I developed such close bonds with my classmates that will last a lifetime.
- What was your first job after graduating Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job was a temporary lab technician for Estée Lauder. The most valuable thing I learned – on a personal level – is that consistent hard work and perseverance pay off. In addition, I realized you truly have to enjoy your job because it gives you the passion to excel and makes you an overall happier person. If you love what you do, then it is not work, and that makes it a whole lot easier to get up every day and get yourself there. On a professional level, I learned how much work it takes to launch a product. The women in my family always used Estée Lauder products, so it was very intriguing to witness the “behind the scenes.”
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
My field of specialty is color development and makeup formulations. I came to work in this industry because I love chemistry. When I decided to major in chemistry, I knew I either wanted to go into medicine or do something in cosmetics. When I graduated from Hofstra, I started my master’s in biochemistry with the intention of applying to medical school. Before I applied, I knew I wanted to work in the field just to gain experience and explore my options. After my first semester, I applied to a temporary lab technician position at Estée Lauder, and I fell in love with this career.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Deal with the task at hand. Sometimes life can be overwhelming, but focus on one thing at a time and you will get through it all.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What advice would you give to other women pursuing careers in chemistry?
You go girl! There is always a need for more women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These fields continue to grow, so the need will continue to grow. There are so many careers in chemistry, other than medicine, that many students are not aware of, such as food and cosmetics.
- When you were pursuing your degree in chemistry, did you have an idea that you wanted to be a formulator for high end makeup like Bobbi Brown/Smashbox?
When I was pursuing chemistry, I was not sure what my career path would be. I knew I loved science, but continuously flip-flopped on the profession I was going to pursue. I absolutely love makeup and fashion, so I considered cosmetic chemistry, but then I also was interested in medicine. When I started graduate school, I realized I had a more natural inclination toward innovation and, not to sound cheeky, toward more of a fun and “glamorous” career.
- How do you see this career changing over the next few years? Are there any major advancements in makeup formulas that we should expect?
This career has so many paths that I am not sure exactly where it will take me, but as of right now, I would love to be very involved with innovation and product development. As for makeup formulas, there is advancement constantly happening. We have to keep up with technology and emerging trends, just like in fashion. For the future, expect to see different industries being applied to our makeup formulations and more personalized products that cater to the individual consumer. New technologies, such as 3-D printers, enable us to launch newer and better products more quickly. They allow our packaging groups to bring to life an idea for a package in a short amount of time.
Siobhan Conroy is a chemist for Estée Lauder and currently works in research and development for Bobbi Brown makeup and Smashbox makeup and treatment. Estée Lauder is multibillion-dollar company that owns over 30 prestige personal care brands, including MAC, La Mer, and Clinique.
Siobhan graduated from Hofstra University in 2011 with a BS in chemistry. In the fall of 2011, she attended The City College of New York to pursue a master’s degree in biochemistry. In between semesters, she applied for a temporary lab position at Estée Lauder, to gain work experience, and the company offered her the job. She decided to accept the position and, apprehensively, put school on hold.
From the first day at Estée Lauder, Siobhan loved her job. She was first assigned to work in the anhydrous group, which included a plethora of brands that develop products that do not contain water, such as lipstick, lip glosses, and certain concealers and eye shadows. Working with anhydrous formulations helped her gain knowledge about many different products and assisted her in learning the philosophies behind each brand. Estée Lauder is extremely devoted to the values of each brand and what it considers “beauty.” For example, Bobbi Brown makeup tends to be more of a natural and soft look, while Smashbox makeup is more bold and dramatic and is often used for studio photography. She helped with many projects that were major launches, such as the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick, and even launched her own projects.
In 2013 the labs were switched around and she was hired as a permanent chemist for Bobbi Brown makeup and Smashbox makeup and treatment. Within days, she was assigned her first major project -- which she is still working on. It is at the final stage and should be in stores in the fall of 2015. Besides this major launch, she has been a part of other projects such as the Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer and Smashbox Full Exposure Palette. In addition to working full time, Siobhan went back to school for materials science and engineering at Stony Brook University. She plans to pursue a PhD or MBA after she earns the Master of Engineering.
Siobhan’s accomplishments would not have been possible without her loving parents. Throughout her life, they have always supported her and pushed her to reach her full potential. She would not be the person she is today without them.