Introducing Anna Zhenova - SCI Scholar 2017

18 July 2017

19 July 2017

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985 around 71 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network, and strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community. In the past nine years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed over £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

Anna Zhenova was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2017. Here, she tells us about herself and her research project.

‘I am a PhD student at the University of York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, where I am working on the development and application of greener replacements for hazardous halogenated solvents. Replacing conventional solvents with safer bio-based derivatives can improve worker safety and health, reduce accidents, and accelerate the transition to a bio-based economy, while also avoiding difficulties with future regulation under REACH and other chemical legislation. My project combines computational and experimental approaches to maximise candidate libraries while reducing the expense and hazard of laboratory testing.

‘Before beginning my PhD, I worked at the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (GC3), which promotes adoption of green chemistry in industry. In my time there, I led a collaborative project with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute that fostered dialogue on current research, created and populated a professional development curriculum, and worked with industry leaders to develop green chemistry solutions to industrial problems. I learned a great deal about how chemistry is applied in industry, and the differences between academic and industrial approaches to research and development.

‘Outside of my studies, I work closely with initiatives that aim to support early-career researchers in sustainable science. I am co-chair of greenSTEMS, an organisation that brings together students and staff in sustainable research at the University of York to work on education and outreach projects. I have served as Director of Communications for NESSE, the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers, and am currently developing a green science mentorship program in partnership with NESSE and Beyond Benign.

‘I earned my BSc from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and my MSc from Carnegie Mellon University with research in simple ionic liquids for carbon capture. Through summer research fellowships, I have worked on various aspects of sustainable chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Oregon, as well as Caltech.’

Anna Zhenova
PhD Student
University of York


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