The Pennington School welcomed John van Stekelenborg P '18 as part of the STEM Speaker Series on Friday, January 26, in the Wesley Forum.
Van Stekelenborg, the director of methods and analysis in the Medical Safety Department of Johnson & Johnson, gave a presentation on his career path from physics to chemistry to medicines, plus a few more detours.
His work currently consists of the development of methods and tools for detecting safety signals in various data sources (e.g., social media). He went to college in The Netherlands, where he received an M.Sc. degree in physics, after which he continued his education in the United States, earning his doctorate at the University of Delaware. His graduate work was in the field of cosmic rays, where he spent quite a bit of time at the experiment station located at the South Pole. He then worked for DuPont at their research facility in Wilmington DE, starting off in a group investigating the use of neural networks for modeling chemical processes.
Van Stekelenborg later worked in computational chemistry, a field that uses quantum mechanics to predict chemical structures and reactions. In 2002, he received his M.B.A. in finance from Rutgers University, and at the same time he moved to Johnson & Johnson, where he spent several years in process analysis and improvement.