Allison A. Aldridge calls Ottawa, Kansas her home town. Her father was in the Air Force, her mother worked in industry and she has three brothers. When she was young Aldridge wanted to be a veterinarian, but working with deceased animals in college changed her mind. She attended the University of Illinois as an undergraduate majoring in biology, taking many courses in chemistry. She then began a job in quality assurance at Hercules Aerospace, Inc. A friend encouraged her to seek an advanced degree, and she began to take classes to meet the requirements for graduate school. She was accepted into the PhD program in chemistry at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, where she wrote a two-part thesis with two advisors.
Degree in hand, Aldridge accepted a senior scientist job at Unilever, where she stayed for about three years. From there she went to Abbott Laboratories, working in late-stage analysis, then in the more interesting early-stage. At Abbott she joined two affinity groups, which trained, mentored, and supported their members. From Abbott Aldridge moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to Mikart, Inc. Besides Georgia's climate (especially after Chicago's), one of Mikart's attractions was that it had five of the first ten ultra high performance liquid chromatography systems; “small pharma” was also attractive to Aldridge.
The second part of Dr. Aldridge's interview takes place about five years after the first. In it she recounts her career since the first interview. She moved from Mikart to Revogenex, Inc., in Winder, Georgia, as Manager of Analytical Services, and then became Director of Analytical Services at Speed Laboratory, Inc. Dr. Aldridge was also Chair of the Committee on Minority Affairs at the American Chemical Society.
At the end of the interview, Aldridge advises young would-be chemists to have a passion for the science, to work hard, to develop themselves, always to question things, and to build networks as they go along. She contemplates perhaps returning to academia, as she misses the joy of teaching.
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