Alyssa Dibble, B.S.

Alyssa Dibble, M.S.

Alyssa Dibble

Corporate Analytical Laboratory Supervisor

Indium Corporation


B.S., Chemistry, Rochester Institute of Technology

As a chemistry major at Rochester Institute of Technology, Alyssa Dibble logged countless hours in chem labs. She practiced analytical chemistry at a US Department of Agriculture laboratory, spectroscopy at an academic research lab, and pharmaceutical development at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Research and Development—all while completing her academic coursework.

But Dibble also cultivated another passion: food and wine. In her junior year, she became a certified sommelier. After graduating, she managed a bakery, worked as a mixologist, and launched a wine education business.

Ultimately, Dibble returned to chemistry. She now runs an analytical chemistry lab at Indium Corporation’s Utica, New York, facility. This global company produces materials such as metals and solders for use in electronics, semiconductors, and other devices.

Dibble doesn’t believe her different career paths are as divergent as they may appear. My jobs have all had chemistry at the core, she says. 

I believe it's not a bad thing to follow your heart. Because sometimes that will lead you to exactly where you need to go.

As a chemistry major, you completed a co-op at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Research and Development in Spring House, Pennsylvania. How did that experience influence your career trajectory?

I was on the strategic operations team for about 9 months. We coded and processed data related to the bioreactors where drugs are made. We’d track the precise chemical inputs and outputs for a particular drug. I learned a lot about computer science and database management, as well as some basic professional skills, like how to make PowerPoint presentations. I also discovered that I loved working as a chemist, but pharmaceutical development wasn’t my passion. 

After earning your chemistry degree, you launched a career in the hospitality industry. What prompted this shift?

My love for chemistry translated into an interest in food and wine. After graduating, I founded my own wine education and events company called Alchemist, Inc. I taught people about the chemistry of wine—how compounds in an oak barrel, for example, react with wine juice to change the flavor profile. 

I also managed a bakery in my hometown of Utica for almost 5 years. I used the skills I learned at the bench to develop new recipes, carefully testing the ratios of ingredients that would produce the most flavorful breads. 

I then worked at a bar as a mixologist—crafting my own syrups and designing drinks with unusual ingredients. I put fish oil in one! Again, I had to follow step-by-step instructions and produce precise ratios, just like in chemistry procedures.

Why did you ultimately decide to return to chemistry?

I always loved chemistry—that never went away. My favorite quote is from Kurt Vonnegut: “Science is magic that works.” I wanted to be part of that magic again. 

So, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked as an analytical chemist at Precision Clinical Laboratories in Clinton, New York. I ran over 1,000 COVID-19 PCR tests per day. I’d go in at 6:00 a.m. and start plating samples, and I wouldn’t go home until 6:00 p.m. But I enjoyed the work, and I liked that I was helping people.

Now you run an analytics lab at Indium Corporation. What’s a typical day like for you?

My team’s mission is to test samples following established procedures to provide quality checks for our products. We start each day with many envelopes filled with samples of alloys sent to us from Indium Corporation facilities across the world. We dissolve the samples and test them for composition and impurities using tools like inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES).

I manage a group of 12 technologists who run the instruments while I assess the output and create reports. I’m a very list-driven person. It feels good being able to check so many samples off my list each day.

What advice do you have for chemists who, like you, explored other career paths and now want to transition back to chemistry?

Take a chance on yourself. I was nervous too. But I was realistic with potential employers. I said, ‘I haven't done this in a while, but I can learn really quick.’ And don’t underestimate how the skills you gained in other pursuits could benefit your chemistry career. I wouldn’t have been hired for my current position if I didn’t have experience managing employees at the bakery.  

It's not a bad thing to follow your heart. Because sometimes that will lead you to exactly where you need to go. I really love my job. I think that is because I took a few steps off to the side and did what I wanted at the time. When I came back to chemistry, I was ready to focus on this career. I want to be here for a long time.