2024 Wright State graduate launches chemistry career at water bottling company

Courtney Crone, who earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Wright State in 2024, was a standout teaching assistant and researcher in the College of Science and Mathematics.

As a student at Springboro High School, Courtney Crone became intrigued by chemistry and forensic science while watching crime-based television shows. She particularly enjoyed scenes depicting detectives collaborating with scientists during investigations.

Crone enjoyed it so much that she decided to pursue a chemistry career.

“‘Law & Order: SVU’ was the one that got it all started for me,” she said. “The characters were doing this fun scientific analysis to figure things out. I just thought that is what I wanted to do.”

And now she is getting her opportunity.

After earning her master’s degree in chemistry from Wright State University, Crone accepted a principal scientist role with Blue Triton Brands, formerly Nestle Bottling Company, a Tampa-based water bottling company with a mission to sustainably provide fresh natural products in North America.

Crone’s role at Blue Triton involves testing water for bacteria and other organisms to ensure it is safe for human consumption. She also works to ensure that salt content does not exceed Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Crone refers to this process as ion chromatography, which allows chemists to assess water for various ingredients.

“Water needs to be as neutral as possible — you don’t want it to be too acidic,” she said. “Blue Triton wants to ensure that its consumers have the best brand of water and is committed to being as environmentally friendly as possible. My job includes a lot of data analysis, which I did a lot while conducting research at Wright State.”

The Wright State University alumna’s research experience is what intrigued Blue Triton.

Crone completed a research project on the nature of ions in water under the guidance of Steven Higgins, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and associate dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

“Courtney was an exemplary graduate student with a very meticulous approach to experimental chemistry research,” Higgins said. “We expect to publish her research results in the next few months as they have far-reaching implications for how we teach the chemistry of solutions.”

Crone was hired into a higher-ranking position than the one she initially applied for because the company viewed her in more of a supervisory role.

In addition to her graduate studies, Crone taught advanced and general chemistry labs and Instrumental Analysis, one of Wright State’s essential courses where undergraduates learn valuable and advanced chemical analysis methods in the field. This included chromatographic separations, mass spectrometry and atomic and molecular spectroscopy.

“As a teaching assistant for the lab, Courtney was expected to be well-versed in the principles and operation of various instruments, which gave her the additional experience to highlight on her resume,” Higgins said. “Companies seeking chemists love to see hands-on experience working with the tools of the trade not only in the teaching environment but also as part of independent laboratory research where the student is often faced with more challenging problems that could take weeks to months to solve. All of this experience gave Courtney the resume of a seasoned professional at a very early stage in her career.”

Crone is grateful to Wright State, particularly Higgins, for the teaching and research experience she received at the university.

“I learned how to handle instrumentation and complete independent research, which is invaluable,” she said. “I learned how to become a better scientist. It was a great experience that prepared me phenomenally and I learned so much from Dr. Higgins.”

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