Natasha Carter

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Quality Control Lead Chemist
Ingredion Incorporated

Ever since I started working at the plant, I was always curious on how so much can just come from a corn kernel. Knowing the science behind the process and actually helping out in the process areas gave me a sense of belonging. This place is a family and we all come together to create needed ingredients for so many products worldwide.

Beginning her career with Ingredion more than 14 years ago, Natasha now serves as lead chemist across multiple departments where she has established herself as a vital technical and cultural leader within the organization’s largest manufacturing facility. Natasha further distinguished herself within her organization by advocating for and commissioning near infared spectroscopy for in-process corn testing. This complex process involved working with the equipment manufacturer to develop calibrations, programming processing parameters and training employees to use the equipment—resulting in a sharp increase in efficiency of analysis. This analysis has been passed on to other plants and data is shared in creating calibration curves for products such as gluten meal, gluten feed and in process fiber surveys.

Throughout her almost decade and a half with Ingredion, Natasha has proven over and over that she is a conscientious and thorough hard worker. She has built incredibly strong relationships with individuals at every level in the organization, from newly-hired hourly employees to those with 30 years of experience. She provides valuable insight to any leadership challenge because she is always in tune with the people she works with, as well as the activity of the plant.

Natasha encourages young females to be involved in STEM related fields through her participation in Girls 4 Science, a non-profit organization for young women attending Chicago Public Schools. As a lead volunteer, she leads classroom discussions on STEM items such as biology and chemistry as well as engineering in art and music, and mathematics used in the real world. Natasha also assists in curriculum development and managing the lab program when the girls visit Ingredion for on-site learning.

Coaching track and field at a local high school, Natasha has made a positive impact within her community by instilling a strong work ethic in young women. Her goal has been to empower each student to be smart, athletic and confident. Additionally, Natasha has been a vital part of the Alliance of Black Employees (ABLE), an Ingredion Business Resource Group. She excelled in the role of President for the Argo plant, spearheading engagement programs and mentoring young African American employees. The ultimate goal for Natasha is to obtain, retain and promote diverse individuals within the company.