April 7, 2017 | News
Kingsborough Community College (KCC) and Class of 2016 Chemistry major Kate Maziarz was recently featured in the Beyond Benign International Day of Women and Girls in Science campaign. Beyond Benign is dedicated to providing future and current scientists, educators, and citizens with the tools to teach and learn about green chemistry to create a sustainable future.
Beyond Benign Executive Director Dr. Amy Cannon spent time talking with women scientists who shared their passion for science, green chemistry, and sustainability, and whose varying backgrounds demonstrated the immense talent and vision women are contributing to science.
Speaking with Dr. Cannon, the Mt. Holyoke junior and chemistry major, spoke about the importance of teaching green chemistry to college and high school students. “If we do not start educating chemistry students early on in science education, then we will never build a sustainable future,” stated Kate. “The most exciting part about learning green chemistry is the overall challenge. Green Chemistry isn’t just about knowing the principles; it’s about critical thinking.”
Kate’s immediate goal is to finish her bachelors of science in chemistry and to continue for a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. She credits her interest in green chemistry to KCC Chemistry Prof. Homar Barcena for demonstrating the big picture of how industry could recycle polymers for future products and that a plastic bottle, for example, did not have to become waste.
While a KCC student, Kate presented at several conferences with Prof. Barcena including the CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP) and the American Chemical Society (ACS), where she met chemists from around the country and the world with whom she was able to exchange ideas. She also individually presented her work at a conference in Belgium—the only undergraduate student to do so.
“Kate is one of the most inquisitive students I have taught,” said Prof. Barcena. “Her ability to understand concepts and apply critical thinking will go a long way in her choice of career. She is a dedicated student whose belief in sustainable practices is supported by her very behavior. As a student, Kate was an active participant of the Honors Program, and I am proud that she is one of Kingsborough’s success stories.”
A 2016 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship winner, Kate received up to $40,000 a year to complete her bachelor’s degree. The Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship in the nation for students transferring from two-year community colleges to four-year institutions that award bachelor’s degrees. A total of 75 community college students were selected from a competitive nationwide pool in 2016; Kate was Kingsborough’s 4th awardee in 3 years.
To read the entire conversation with Kate and the other women featured in the campaign, click here