Centre biology major pairs passions through internship

Published 11:13 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023


An internship identified by faculty helped one student get a jump start on her dream job.

Biology major Riley Hodge didn’t expect to find a job in makeup or skincare so close to Centre College. A Nashville native, Hodge spoke with her advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Claire O’Quin, about her interests in the field.

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Hodge wanted to pair her makeup and skincare enthusiasm with her college major and found a match with Kentucky Soaps & Such, a hospitality business located in Stanford, Kentucky.

“I never thought I’d be able to have this job opportunity in the middle of central Kentucky, working in product development for a personal care company,” Hodge said. “That is really what I want to go into, I’ve just always had that interest in having good, simple ingredients and keeping it cost effective and accessible for people by not adding anything unnecessary or decorative. Keeping packaging very utilitarian and reusable, if possible.”

Kentucky Soaps & Such checks those boxes for Hodge, who said the internship will continue into her spring semester. Centre College guarantees all students an internship and/or research opportunity — one that Hodge took advantage of.

Hodge said her courses in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and anatomy and physiology have all played critical roles in her internship.

“The courses I’m taking right now lined up perfectly,” she said. “Just combining my knowledge about the integumentary system (hair, skin and nails) and how that works, then focusing on the more molecular basis of it, how those compounds work. It has even come down to emulsifying ingredients when developing products like a lemon spray.”

Hodge’s skincare story began in middle school with an interest in makeup — and the foundation for makeup is skin care.

From that point forward, she started researching clean ingredients on her own and learning about “green washing,” the term for misleading packaging or language that makes a product sound better for the environment or healthier than it actually is.

“Kentucky Soaps & Such focuses a lot on natural ingredients and sustainability with their packaging and ingredient sourcing,” Hodge said. “They have several great community service programs as well.”