Nike Employee Looks to Earn Textile Chemistry Masters Through NC State Online

Mike Schaadt works and lives in Oregon, but because of his textile design job, he’s also a student at NC State.

Schaadt is a part-time student enrolled in the Master of Science in Textile Chemistry online program through NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles.

Schaadt is a part-time student because he works full-time for Nike, Inc. He is a senior chemistry manager in the sustainable sourcing and manufacturing group. Schaadt says his group focuses on ensuring the supply chain creates chemically compliant materials for Nike products.

“We spend a good deal of time on chemical policies and global supply chain training to empower our factories and material vendors,” Schaadt said. His work also extends to toxicity reviews of innovative chemistries and industry collaborations to reduce the global impacts of materials production.

“Prior to joining Nike, I was consulting in the ‘better chemistry’ space for textile, footwear, and sporting goods brands. NC State offered week-long courses in textile fundamentals, which I attended to build a better background in textile production,” Schaadt shared.

When he became a consultant to Nike, Schaadt met many people with the company who graduated from NC State. This helped him realize that NC State is a great place and an excellent resource to gain additional knowledge to support his work in the textile chemistry industry.

“Although my focus is to increase my knowledge in the area of textile and polymer chemistry, I have no doubt the degree will help open new doors in my future,” Schaadt said. “NC State is very well respected in the industry. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the school and the program,” he added.

The online master’s program involves multiple courses, but Special Topics in Fiber Science is one of Schaadt’s favorites.

Dr. El-Shafei really challenged students in the class to understand color chemistry and structure/property relationships. I learned a great deal that is directly applicable to my work and [gained] a new respect for color chemistry in general,” Schaadt said.

Due to his busy work schedule, Schaadt manages between three and six credit hours per semester. He says flexibility is key to making sure he succeeds.

“I think often times people are not aware of why the online approach is so valuable. The ability for a student to pause a course lecture, research a specific topic to ensure it is understood, and then continue through the lecture is invaluable,” he added.

Schaadt is expected to complete his master’s degree with a minor in Textile Technology in Spring 2017.