Biochemistry Grad Mia Gunawan ’09 Ensures Chemicals in Clothing Are Safe
Chemicals can be found everywhere – from the foods we eat to the clothes we wear – and it’s Mia Gunawan’s job to make sure that the chemicals used in the clothing sold by H&M are safe and sustainable.
“A lot of chemicals are used to make clothes, and some of them are quite dangerous,” Mia says. “My role is to ensure that the chemicals used in manufacturing our clothes are safe for human and environmental health. Beyond that, I also work with our Conscious products, which are made from sustainable material such as organic cotton or recycled polyester made from used plastic water bottles. My role is to make sure that the products are honest, traceable and truly sustainable.”
Mia joined H&M after returning to her hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia after working for years in the United States in biomedical research.
Mia’s journey since graduating from Seton Hill with a degree in biochemistry took her first to the Mayo Clinic where she worked in medical imaging research comparing outcomes of various treatments for cardiac arrhythmia.
"My role is to make sure that the products are honest, traceable and truly sustainable.”
In 2011, she moved to Washington D.C. to begin graduate study at Georgetown University, where she specialized in cancer research, and met her future husband, who is also a native of Indonesia.
Together, they returned to their home country in 2013 where Mia helped a friend with a medical start-up before joining H&M.
“With experiences in both environmental and biomedical science, my ultimate goal is to work and make substantial improvements for a healthier mankind and earth,” Mia says. “I see myself working towards improvements in Indonesia or South East Asia in the field of public health, with a focus on environmental sustainability, clean water, sanitation and access to health education.”
Seton Hill’s young alumni are making their mark on the world through their work in science and healthcare, finance and business, industry, entertainment and service to those in need. The Spring/Winter 2017 edition of Seton Hill’s Forward magazine featured 30 of these alumni, all under the age of 30. You can find all of their stories here on Seton Hill’s site (just look for the “30 Under 30” icon).