Analyzing Mineralized Water: Meet Our Water Scientist, StefanieMitte News
When Stefanie joined in late 2016, it’s safe to say Mitte was still in its infancy: Stefanie was one of the first team members and built up the water lab from scratch. Today, she runs both the organisation of the water lab and the process of water analysis itself.
Find out more about her journey to Mitte, what she is currently working on, and what her biggest water-related challenge has been so far.
How did you find your way to Mitte and what made you decide to join?
After my graduation, I was looking for work in the field of water or microbiology and became aware of a company called Himmelwasser, which was the name of Mitte at that time. The conception of the machine was interesting to me and they advertised an internship in microbiology. After a phone call, I got the chance to work from home for a month, because I didn’t live in Berlin yet. This turned out to be a fitting opportunity because after that, I received a full time offer and moved to Berlin.
How would you best describe your role?
I’d say I have two roles in one. On the one hand, I am responsible for the laboratory, which means I have to inspect the machines, perform quality assurance, and take care of documentation and general maintenance. On the other hand, I am employed as a microbiology expert. I use my knowledge of sanitation and bacterial growth, carry out mineralization tests, and take care of laboratory analysis, data processing, and collaboration with external laboratories.
You were amongst the first hires at Mitte in 2016. How has your role developed from then to now?
I started as an intern and microbiology expert. My tasks included research and development, especially in materials research. I was finding out, for example, how to coat materials so that no limescale formation occurs, and I was working on cartridge development.
Since then, I moved away from direct research and poured myself into focusing on the lab part, and now I am responsible for it: I am more involved in laboratory work, analysis, general maintenance and safety of the laboratory, and the rules and regulations that apply to us.
What does a day in the life of a Water Scientist look like at Mitte?
A day at Mitte can look very different. But generally in the morning, we always meet as a team and go through the daily schedule so that everyone is up-to-date. Then, I often start by analyzing samples from the day before or from overnight, after which, I prepare the machines for the next run.
These tests are quite extensive and different. Reagents have to be prepared in order to analyse their mineral content. Total dissolved solids (TDS) and pH have to be measured to gain more insight about our mineral experiments that are being conducted. Microbiological tests are more complex, days of preparation and planning ahead are necessary here.
Aside from that, I am also doing documentary work like writing operating instructions – as well as attending other meetings or answering other inquiries along the way!
What projects do you like in particular?
I specifically enjoy the work related to experiments and everything that has to do with microbiology. Also learning more about various regulations and safety measures in our laboratory is really interesting.
Has the pandemic affected the way you work at all?
In times of corona, time in the office and in the laboratory is limited. We work with fewer people at the same time, which naturally increases the workload. This of course was a challenge to my workflow.
What’s the best thing about working for Mitte?
The people I am working with. We are a great team and work collaboratively together to achieve our goals. In general, I think at Mitte we have a lot of talented people so it is a joy to work and learn from each other to optimize your own work skills.
What has been your biggest challenge at work?
One of the biggest challenges is space. We’re a water company, which means the water team is constantly growing and that puts our lab at a critical point in terms of space. Other than that, there are the typical challenges along the way like the occasional technical issue with our analytical analysis machine, for example.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sweets, especially chocolate, I just can’t live without it 🙂
Last but not least, how do you stay hydrated?
With lots of fruit juices. And non-carbonated, soft and lightly mineralized water.
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