Hello everyone! I’m Chris, currently a senior Chemistry major at Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.
As I’m preparing for my senior year of college, I’ve been looking back a few years and would never have imagined that I would be so lucky to be an ACS student representative at COP21.
Growing up in California, sustainability and climate change were topics I had always heard about, but never had a real interest in. Coming to Texas for college was a big change. Granted, Austin is very different from the rest of the state and much more on board with being sustainable and energy efficient, but I still found myself having to make more of an effort to work to live sustainably as a college student. For example, one of my pet peeves is still the ridiculous amount of unnecessary paper handouts and flyers I’ve received in college!
I started considering climate change from a global perspective after an internship I had last summer (2014) through the Department of Energy at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center National Laboratory (SLAC). Working on solar cells and seeing other renewable energy technologies being developed there, I became passionate about using my research chemistry background to work towards more sustainable energy. With that experience, this summer I was an intern at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, synthesizing aerogels as catalyst supports for carbon dioxide reduction. While it was primarily intended for use on the International Space Station and for long-term space missions/inhabitation, it also has potential applications here on Earth to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions as well.