Courtney Valmore Makes a Sustainable Impact at Rose and in the World

Wednesday, October 18, 2023
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Chemical engineering major/economics minor Courtney Valmore is an engineer with a passion for sustainability. She has big goals for her future — to encourage large companies to prioritize sustainability in everything they do.

Courtney Valmore is an engineer with a passion for sustainability. The chemical engineering major/economics minor has big goals for her future — to encourage large companies to prioritize sustainability in everything they do. While that may seem like a challenge, Valmore has already made headway on that goal. She spent a summer internship at Procter & Gamble where her job was to redesign the Mr. Clean “Clean Freak” bottle to make it completely sustainable. She did that, and in just a few months, Valmore will see her fully redesigned product on grocery store shelves across the country.

“At the start of my internship, the ‘Clean Freak’ bottle Procter & Gamble used was completely non-recyclable,” said Valmore. “The stickers, labels, bag inside … none of those things were recyclable. I looked at different adhesives, labels, inks that were washable to design a new package that makes the bottle completely recyclable. … It was really cool to have that large of an impact as an intern within three months.” 

Valmore feels her minor in economics was helpful in the internship and is confident it will benefit her going forward. While big companies want to do the sustainable thing, they also need to make a profit. And Valmore enjoyed striking a balance between those areas. She also found her “sweet spot” within the packaging arena.

“I’ve worked in both the marketing and manufacturing parts of engineering,” said Valmore. “I knew I liked lab work, and packaging combined all those things. At Procter & Gamble, I got to work in a lab, but also work with marketing people to communicate this is what should be featured on the package, and this is what consumers should look at, while also staying focused on the economics side.”

Procter & Gamble was not Valmore’s first foray into sustainability. Even before attending Rose, as a high school senior the Indianapolis native worked as a research and development intern for Praxair Surface Technologies where she sourced and tested sustainability of 3D-printed plastics in chemical and heat treatments.

Valmore secured a summer internship for her rising sophomore year at Rose at Endress+Hauser in Greenwood. She was hired as a marketing engineer intern because the company “likes to put engineers with social skills in marketing so they can convey technical information to non-engineers,” said Valmore. At Endress+Hauser, she created resources for sales representatives to utilize in the field to market products, and constructed videos to give brief overviews of the products offered by the company.

During her rising junior year, Valmore was hired as an engineering intern for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. She developed computer models for manufacturing design and improvements, and optimized plant processes through automation of large-scale tank processes. At Eli Lilly, Valmore gained manufacturing experience and learned she prefers project-based work rather than being a frontline engineer.

Making an Impact on Campus

Valmore’s impact on the world is not limited to her internship experiences and companies with global reach. She has been making a difference at Rose and in the lives of fellow students since the beginning of her first year on campus. She started in fall 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the first few weeks of school, classmates were expressing concerns and questions to her about the pandemic’s impact at Rose. Realizing she had a voice to articulate the feelings of fellow students, Valmore ran for freshman class president during her third week of school.

A few months later, she was asked to join the Student Government Association (SGA) executive board; making her the first freshman to serve in that role. As a sophomore, she ran for president of the SGA and has been serving in that role for three terms.

In her student leader roles, she’s taken on large campus endeavors, including a vaccine clinic that got 94% of the student body vaccinated. She advocated for the campus minimum wage to increase from $7.25 to $10 per hour. It also convinced her to pursue her concurrent master’s degree in engineering management.

“My strength among other engineers is to communicate and advocate for other students,” said Valmore. “I’m someone who likes to push for change and advocate for others and I feel like I’m making an impact.”

Valmore is also an advocate for mental health awareness on campus. Two months into her first year at Rose, she acquired an emotional support dog named Chicken Nugget. She and Chicken later went through training so the dog can be a certified therapy dog for others. She partnered with other members of SGA to form a mental health committee that raised awareness and had conversations on campus about mental health, which was especially critical during the pandemic. 

That group later branched into a club called Active Minds, which is modeled from a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that supports mental health awareness and education for young adults. Valmore serves as president of Rose’s Active Minds club. The group partners with the campus counseling center, coordinates campus discussions around mental health issues, and is participating in a joint Eli Lilly grant to bring resources to students on campus.

Impacting the Future

Valmore received post-graduation job offers from all three internship companies. She chose Procter & Gamble because of the continued opportunity to work on developing sustainable products. Valmore will work in the fabric care packaging arena, with products such as Tide, Downy and Bounce.

“Procter & Gamble is coming out with a new product and it will be the most sustainable product they have,” said Valmore. “I will be the person who works on packaging for that global piece. The opportunity to work on sustainability that closely made me feel like I’d have the biggest impact in the field of sustainability.” 

Valmore, a first-generation college student, will not just graduate from Rose with a bachelor’s and master’s degree and employment at Procter & Gamble. She also leaves with invaluable life experiences to have a voice and not be afraid to use it for the ideas that are important, not just to her but others. 

“Rose really taught me how to advocate for myself and others about things that I feel are important,” said Valmore. “This is especially critical being a woman in the STEM field and sitting around corporate tables. It will translate well with me going into sustainability. To have those communication and technical skills has really put me at an advantage in industry and in life.”