Green Chemistry: Confessions of a Tree-Hugger
Recent graduate, SooYeon Kwon, talks about her introduction and commitment to green chemistry from day three at Gordon.
"My third day of classes at Gordon, I went to see my newest professor, Professor Irv Levy in the Chemistry Department. Honestly, my initial motive was to seek an impressive research project to include on my resume (already thinking about the application process for graduate school). With all the enthusiasm of a budding scientist, I knocked on the door to his lab and asked if I could assist with any research.
Professor Levy laid out many topics before me that day. As he started to run through the list of opportunities for scientific collaboration, I heard the words "ecotoxicity and biodiesel”… and something clicked. As a self-identified “tree-hugger” (which at that time I labeled myself with vague understanding of what it meant), I became part of his team. Not realizing that day, I would head the project, not assist or observe from the sidelines. (An encouraging realization, looking back, that is a rarity in terms of student-experience at the undergraduate level). Over the years my research developed a laboratory experiment that helps educate students about ecotoxicity and concepts of green chemistry—which Gordon College fervently advocates. The process measures ecotoxicity by the average elongation of germinated lettuce seeds treated by alcohol of different concentrations. The experiment clearly shows the difference between ecotoxicity and human toxicity. Most importantly, it is simple and fun—making it a great tool to engage middle and high school students on the concepts of 'green chemistry.' "
Read more of her story on Gordon's Blog: Notes Along the Way.