Seth Pattee

Seth Pattee photo

Seth Pattee
  • Chemistry

Class of: 2013

I first learned about "green chemistry," the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances, in several of my chemistry classes at Carroll. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this knowledge and interest in safer chemical processes would turn out to be very valuable to me and the company I work for.

When I graduated in 2013, I gained valuable work experience at Energy Laboratories and ExxonMobil in Billings, Montana.  But I feel like I really found my calling in my current position as a research and development chemist for Next FX, the second-largest manufacturer of theatrical pyrotechnics in the world. In my recent work, I have helped the company implement two new lines of "green pyrotechnics", which have considerably less smoke output and lowered amounts of toxic components and byproducts. My end goal is the complete removal of traditional substances that have been deemed toxic, such as heavy metals, dichromate salts, and perchlorate salts, from pyrotechnic compositions. By diving into the field of high-nitrogen energetic compounds, I will continue my vision towards finding non-toxic, safe compounds that will allow audiences to continue to enjoy the beauty of precision theatrical pyrotechnics for years to come.

I was pulled into the world of Chemistry during my Freshman year and in following years I worked as a Laboratory TA for General Chemistry and Instrumental Methods. I particularly found joy and inspiration during my Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, Quantitative Analysis, and Instrumental Methods classes, where I developed strong bonds with the faculty that continue to this day. My wide-ranging education at Carroll College was extremely beneficial, as the wide-ranging skillset I received in many different fields of study gave me an advantage over graduates of other institutions in the region.

My hint to prospective and current students would be this: take advantage of all of the resources available to you at Carroll. The faculty are there for you and you’ll be surprised at how many personal relationships you will develop that will last for years to come. And for prospective Chemistry students, I make one request: pay attention to your Instrumental Methods classwork… having knowledge and experience in various analysis techniques and instruments is invaluable to both research institutions and potential employers!