One of the most gratifying aspects of Jasmine Silas’ job at Alexandria Renew Enterprises is being able to see the results of her hard work every day.
“I watch the dirty water come in to be treated, and see clean water leaving the plant at the end,” Jasmine said. “That’s satisfying.”
Previously, Jasmine was a laboratory technician and associate scientist in research laboratories. While she liked her work mixing vaccines and growing live cells used in research, she felt somewhat removed from the process, and wondered how her work fit into the “big picture.” When her latest laboratory closed, she explored a different route to use her scientific skills.
Jasmine started with Alexandria Renew Enterprises 11 months ago as part of its Operations Technician apprenticeship program, and recently passed her exam to earn a Class III Wastewater Operations license.
Alexandria Renew Enterprises’ Operations Technician Apprenticeship Program trains participants to run the wastewater treatment facility in an effective and efficient manner. The program requires 4,000 hours of on-the-job experience and 300 hours of class time. The number of hours can be fewer if the apprentice takes additional classes or holds a degree in the field.
Jasmine, who is the mother of a one-year old daughter, enjoys the camaraderie of her six-person team, which she refers to as her “second family.” She also said that her job underscores the fact that women are as capable as men in science. “I’ve learned a lot on the job already,” she said. “I’m finding skills I didn’t even know I had.”
Jasmine holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from High Point University in North Carolina. She is also a graduate of Parkdale High School in Riverdale Park, Maryland. She lives in Oxon Hill, MD.