AIMCAL R2R USA Conference honors first WISE Scholarship recipient 

Mary Burdette-Trofimov, Ph.D. of Franklin International has been honored as the first recipient of the Women in Industry Scholarship for Excellence (WISE). The scholarship was presented at an awards ceremony Sept. 26 at the AIMCAL R2R USA Conference 2022 at the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Orlando in Orlando, FL.

Burdette-Trofimov was chosen by the WISE Scholarship Review Team who found her application and commitment to the industry and technology impressive. “She is on a path to contribute technically to the industry and will impact whatever she touches,” said one of the judges.

Dr. Burdette-Trofimov, known as Katie, earned Bachelor of Science and doctoral degrees from Clemson University. Her doctoral work focused on the synthesis of polymer-based drug delivery systems. While in graduate school, she won the prestigious POLY award, which is given by the American Chemical Society to one graduate student per university for outstanding research in polymeric materials.

In 2021, she joined Franklin International (Ohio) as a product development chemist tasked with formulating new water-based, sustainably-made pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs). Burdette-Trofimov reports, “I found that I could combine my polymer synthesis skills with physical chemistry of polymers to develop PSAs. It has been extremely rewarding to work on projects that are going into the market that real people will use on a daily basis.”

Her advice to women to help assure their success: “Surround yourself with a great support system. Being the only technical woman at work can be taxing if you don’t have support.”

The WISE was created in 2022 by AIMCAL and its Women’s Leadership Committee to encourage and commend women who have chosen careers in the R2R industry. The scholarship funds are applied directly toward the winner’s student loan balance. The WISE is awarded to women already working in the roll-to-roll converting industry and is intended to recognize those who have overcome significant challenges, invested in STEM degrees, and continue to make important contributions to the industry.

2023 scholarship applications now open

Applications are now open for 2023. The application form is available at (click on “Resources,” then “Scholarship”). The submission deadline is Aug. 1, 2023.

The WISE program is funded by donations and an endowment is being established to ensure women working in the web-converting field continue to receive aid. A goal of $100,000 has been set, with a Fall 2023 deadline. Levels of support include Diamond Sponsor ($10,000+), Gold Sponsor ($5,000), Silver Sponsor ($1,000), and Friends of the AIMCAL Scholarship Fund (any amount from individuals or businesses).

Sponsors receive recognition via the AIMCAL website, social media posts, and a scholarship sponsor plaque. Current sponsors include Davis-Standard, LLC; Celplast Metallized Products; Nordmeccanica Group; Intellivation LLC; and Mahlo America, Inc.

For more information about the WISE or the AIMCAL Women’s Leadership Committee, contact 803-948-9470 or [email protected]