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For these Society alumni, Earth Day is every day!

By Lucy Curtis

Amanda Martinez poses in a black outfit.
Amanda Martinez is the Chief Creative Officer for a sustainable fuel company. Read on to hear about how she and other Society alumni are working to save the planet. Courtesy of Amanda Martinez

Earth Day may fall on April 22, but the vital efforts in conservation, clean energy and environmental science persist year-round. From researching lead exposure to marketing sustainable fuels to defending wild spaces in North America, Society alumni are busy fighting the good fight when it comes to protecting our planet. Read on to learn about the diverse work of five Society alumni who are engaged in work protecting the planet and all who live here.

Bart Bartlett (ISEF 1996), the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Chair of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, leads a lab working on approaches to converting solar energy to easily storable chemical fuel. The lab uses a variety of synthetic and measurement techniques to build and assess tools which can tackle this fundamental challenge within the energy sector. Bart’s lab aims to create resources that have a wide-ranging impact for the cutting-edge research crucial to our energy future.

Bart received a bachelor’s in Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from MIT and completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley.

Fionn picks up trash at a beach.
Fionn created a magnet-based method for removing microplastics from our water. Courtesy of Fionn Ferreira

Fionn Ferreira (ISEF 2018) is a scientist and entrepreneur who has pioneered a magnet-based method for removing microplastics from the water. This method won second place in the Chemistry category at ISEF 2018. Fionn’s commitment to overcoming environmental challenges extends beyond these prizes; he has continued his work through his corporation, Fionn & Co. LLC and his foundation, the Green Journey Coalition.

Recognized by Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and honored with the European Patent Office’s Young Inventors Prize, Fionn remains determined to remove microplastics from our waterways while promoting a more sustainable way of using and reusing resources.

Fionn received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Chemistry from the University of Groningen.

Amanda Martinez (ISEF 1998) is Chief Creative Officer, Head of Brand at Prometheus Fuels, a company working to create net zero carbon fuels from carbon dioxide in the air. With partners like American Airlines and BMW, Prometheus aims to compete with fossil fuel manufacturers to not only slash emissions but pull carbon from the air. In her current role Amanda shapes the look and feel of Prometheus’ brand identity.

Amanda has a background in science journalism and communications and has published pieces in Scientific American, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker.  Amanda is also an author with a forthcoming book on the topic of nostalgia, under contract with St. Martin’s Press. Amanda holds a Bachelor’s degree in Playwriting from Yale University and a Master’s Degree in Science Writing from MIT.

Caryl Waggett (STS 1988) is the Chair of Global Health Studies and holds a position in the Environmental Science Department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the intersection of environmental science and public health, with recent work on elevated levels of lead found in children and homes in rural Northwest Pennsylvania. Her findings were key in identifying a widespread public health issue.

In 2007 Caryl founded a program called Healthy Homes – Healthy Children to test older homes for lead paint residue. This program has continued as a work-study program, which allows students to offer free in-home lead testing in Crawford County and serves as an important resource for medical and social service professionals in the region.

Caryl earned a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies; Ecology and Evolution from Brown University and her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from University of California, Berkeley.

Ron Sutherland poses for a headshot.
Ron is the Chief Scientist at Wildlands Network, where he works to protect wild spaces through research and policy advocacy. Courtesy of Ron Sutherland

Ron Sutherland (STS 1995) is the Chief Scientist at Wildlands Network, where he leads the organization’s science programs across North America. Wildlands Network collaborates with local partners across the continent to help safeguard wild spaces through scientific research and policy advocacy.

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Ron’s work focuses on habitat connectivity mapping, road ecology and species conservation. Ron has testified before congressional staff on conservation matters on multiple occasions, and between 2013 and 2015 he co-led an award-winning campaign which saved the 79,000-acre Hofmann Forest from being sold to private buyers.

Ron has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from North Carolina State University, a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy from the Nicholas School at Duke University.

Lucy Curtis