Executive Board

NESSE is co-ordinated by an Executive Board of seven dedicated early-career sustainable scientists and engineers who are excited about building a powerful and creative community. Click on the photos below to read more about them.

There are lots of opportunities to get involved with the NESSE teams by writing blogs, supporting our groups, helping with research and fundraising. To get involved email the Directors below, info@sustainablescientists.org or look at the volunteers page.

If you’d like to be on the Board read about our elections process.

Dr. Samson Alayande  Executive Director  2019-2021

Dr. Samson Alayande
Executive Director

Current Career Status: Faculty Member

Institution: First Technical University

Location:  Ibadan, Nigeria

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Background: Samson is a Senior Lecturer in Department of Industrial Chemistry, First Technical University, Ibadan, Nigeria. He was previously a research fellow in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He bagged his doctoral degree in Industrial Chemistry with specialization on Nanotechnology, he worked on sustainable management of crude oil spillage using nanoporous fibre. His research theme is “Materials for Energy and Environmental Sustainability”. He has worked extensively on developing re-use for polymer waste, nanostructuring of agricultural wastes into valuable materials, green synthesis of advance materials and sustainable chemistry. As a researcher, he has over forty publications and mentored several undergraduate and graduate students. He has patent on “crude oil adsorption and simultaneous oil recovery with electrospun fibre regeneration (International Publication Number of   WO 2018/055566 A1)   He has participated in several national and international projects on Sustainable Science such as development of nano-filter from bio-diversity as point-of-use water purifier, re-use of polymer waste as resistivity gas sensor, health impact of ceramic water filter in Eweje village, upcycling of PET bottles, green technology for monitoring of crop deterioration and capacity development on sustainable chemistry.  He has a patent on prototype for crude oil spillage management. He is a stakeholder on Sustainable Chemistry and has participated in several global programmes on Sustainable Chemistry. He is a member of several professional forum. He loves innovation, travelling, productive interaction, writing, investment and learning new things. He loves innovation, travelling, productive interaction, writing, investment and learning new things. He is currently Director of Finance and Funding for Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers.

Dr. Alexandra Hicken Executive Director 2017-2019 alex.hicken@sustainablescientists.org

Dr. Alexandra Hicken
Executive Director

Current Career Status: Grants Intern
Institution Name: Barts Charity
Location: London, UK
Brief biosketch: I first became aware of the societal importance of sustainable science through completing an MSc Green Chemistry and Sustainable Industrial Technologies at the University of York, UK. Following that, my research endeavours lead me to undertake a PhD at Imperial College, London investigating the interaction of molecular structures with carbon dioxide. After recently defending my PhD thesis, I have begun to pursue a career in the not for profit sector and currently work for a healthcare charity in London. Outside of my professional life I enjoy watching and playing football (soccer!), playing the piano and attempting to compete with my partner on whatever the latest video game may be.

Statement of interest: I have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences that serving on the NESSE Executive Board of Directors as Director of Communications and Marketing has given me and I would be honoured to be given the role of Executive Director. My experiences to date have ensured that I am competent in communicating with my fellow Directors and the wider membership in order to empower our members to contribute their science and passion for sustainability.

Dr. Natalie O’Neil  Executive Director 2018-2020  natalie.oneil@ sustainablescientists.org

Dr. Natalie O’Neil
Executive Director
natalie.oneil@ sustainablescientists.org

Current Career Status: Higher Education Program Manager 
Institution Name: Beyond Benign 
Location: Schenectady, NY USA
Brief biosketch: I earned my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University at Albany in 2017 after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Chemistry from Western New England University. During my graduate studies, I felt that the topics of sustainability, toxicology and environmental hazards were missing from the traditional graduate chemistry curriculum. Therefore, I pursued a one-year certification in Green Chemistry and Chemical Stewardship, attended the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry & Sustainable Energy Summer School and became actively involved in the NESSE. Doing work (if you can even call it that) for NESSE is a large part of my life and keeps me empowered as well as inspired to be one of many in a global movement of young professionals working on or interested in solutions to today’s most pressing sustainability challenges. I served at Utica College as both an adjunct and Assistant Professor of Chemistry from 2015-2019, introducing green chemistry to both major and non-major courses. I left Utica College to follow my passion, teaching and empowering the next generation of scientists to use sustainable approaches through green chemistry at Beyond Benign. In my free time I enjoy time with my dog and husband, hiking, cooking, Pilates or yoga and traveling. 

Statement of interest: I have been serving on the NESSE Executive Board of Directors since 2015, first as the Communications and Marketing Director then I transitioned to the Executive Director role in 2016. During that time I finished my PhD, registered NESSE as a nonprofit under Empowerment Works, traveled to London and France for workshops funded by Future Earth to collaborate with the Early Career Researchers Network of Networks (ECR NoN), I could go on! My reason for running for another term is I think we can take NESSE to the next level and I want to see it through. The growth of NESSE over the past 3 years has been amazing to watch and I know over time we are learning more about how to support our members and provide them with valuable information.

Felipe Cicaroni Fernandes  Director of Membership Activities 2017-2019  membership@sustainablescientists.org

Current Career Status: PhD Student
Institution: University of Warwick
Location: Coventry, UK
Brief biosketch: I am currently a 3rd year PhD student in the Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing Group, WMG, University of Warwick. I have been seduced by sustainability since my first experience as an undergraduate researcher in 2010 when I worked in the area of conductive polymers for photovoltaic applications. Currently, I am working on the boundaries between Chemistry and Engineering through the elaboration of green composites using bio-based epoxy resins derived from waste cooking oil and reinforced with flax fibres. I have always been passionate about how the concepts of green chemistry can be translated into other disciplines, particularly in Materials Science and Polymer Engineering. During my free time, I practice Judo and I found it an excellent way to relieve stress, develop focus, disciple and improve my health. I have competed in local tournaments (no significant results yet, I am afraid), and I am hoping to be upgraded from green to blue belt in the next couple of months.  

Statement of Interest:  My first contact with NESSE was last year at the ACS GC&E in Portland, OR. In this occasion, I immediately recognized the potential of such initiative and realised that this was the community I was looking for since I began my involvement with sustainability. When I came back to the UK, it was clear in my mind that I had to get involved with NESSE and find ways to contribute and strengthen this cause. I started spreading new about such unique network, and something began to germinate here at the University of Warwick. Since then, I have been working together with an amazing team on the creation of a Sustainable Science Group at our home university, and we are close to start promoting our first set of activities. Whilst motivated to help NESSE by transforming the SSG at Warwick into a reality, I also identify in the opportunity of acting as Director of Membership Activities the perfect chance to devote more of my time into two things I am passionate about: sustainability and supporting people.

Catherine Tran – Executive Board Support

Catherine Tran
Executive Board Support
2018-2020 info@sustainablescientists.org

Current Career Status: Entry-Level Position 
Institution Name: Intel

Location: Oregon, USA
Brief biosketch: Currently I assist with product development and manufacturing operations for my team at Intel and have only recently joined the company. I am looking into career growth in technical development and/or CSR where possible in the future. Within the sustainable development realm, I’m interested in learning more about supply chain, recycling and social complexities of technological development, but have an affinity to be enthusiastic about anything materials science-related and/or sustainability-related. I also have a passing interest in linguistics and history (particularly in archives and museum objects), and enjoy taking photos wherever I explore.

Statement of interest: I chose this particular position that’s available which I believe would enable me to provide my best support to the team and organization given my time bandwidth due to my job and wishes to take courses part-time in the future. I also do have much previous experience in my university clubs redirecting question-askers to the right people on the team, pointing to resources where possible and talking about my own group where general information was needed – all of which would be an asset for someone on Executive Board Support, especially when they are meant to be the first point of contact for NESSE.


Erika Daley – Director of Sustainable Science Groups

Erika Daley
Director of Sustainable Science Groups

Current Career Status: Scientific Programs Manager 
Institution Name: The Resource Management Group (RMG), Inc. 
Location: San Diego, CA USAScreen Shot 2018-07-24 at 11.04.27
Brief biosketch: My undergraduate and graduate research interests were in main group inorganic chemistry. In graduate school I was introduced to green chemistry and served as co-chair of the Green Chemistry Initiative at the University of Toronto. From the experience gained in this position, I was offered full-time employment with My Green Lab, a California-based 501c3 non-profit that focuses on making scientific research and laboratories more sustainable. Outside of work, my happy place is in the wilderness hiking, camping, and rock-climbing. I also enjoy travelling, scuba diving, snorkelling, and being at the beach. I volunteer with I Love A Clean San Diego – a non-profit to help keep San Diego’s beaches and ocean trash-free, and Outdoor Outreach – a non-profit that brings underprivileged children and youth on outdoor adventures including hiking, climbing, kayaking, and more.

Statement of interest: I am running for the position of Director of Sustainable Science Groups because I believe my experience as co-chair of the Green Chemistry Initiative at the University of Toronto, and in my current role with My Green Lab, would serve this position very well. I really enjoy meeting new people, bringing people with common interests and motivations together, and seeing those relationships grow, especially within the scientific community. I think we can all agree that collaboration is key to most successful projects, particularly in the world of sustainability, and it would be an absolute honour to facilitate sustainability-focused scientists coming together to lead into successful collaborative groups and efforts.

Tammy Puryicky
Director of Marketing
2017-2019 communication@sustainablescientists.org blog@sustainablescientists.org

Institution: The University of Edinburgh
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Country of Origin: USA
Background: Suspended within the waters of the Dead Sea, I was intrigued by how a solvent uninhabitable for aquatic life had equally been used as a pond for research, health and minerals for desert agriculture. Unknowingly, this unorthodox experience inspired me to face future challenges by enhancing basic elements like, water into renewable feasible appliances. Throughout college, I’ve conducted projects around my interests. For instance, I used remote sensing to explore an environmental issue affecting Lake Baikal. I detected the effects of radon, traced mercury from coal ashes and linked the growth of algal blooms to the effects of nutrient runoffs that correlate to the inadequate disposal of human toxicants. For leisure, I love to cook, learn Italian, travel and further my knowledge on alternative medicine. Being bilingual has deepened my cultural understanding of the world and has made me eager to create solidarity around sustainable living. I would like see my interests hybrid into an eco-friendly industry that issues safe manufacturing systems and policies; to generate more positive externalities in its production in order to preserve Earth’s biodiversity. I hope to fulfill what I once envisioned at the Dead Sea by cultivating a generation that creates a common ground to promote service, vision and passion for what it does.

Statement of Interest: I have opted to serve as NESSE’s Marketing and Communications Director because such role translates into creating a platform rooted in knowledge, ideation and innovation. Within today’s globalized world, challenges have become multifactorial across many sectors. Thus, through the use of media outlets, I intend to create an inviting virtual environment to provide an educational exposure to shape the individual’s conceptualization and perception of foreign matters, needs and their role in relation to it. Moreover, understanding the impacts of culture as well as language are barriers I plan to make points of focus in order to target a broader audience. My current research within environmental health science has made me conscious of the fact that there has been a loss of relationship between the environment that lives inside the person and the human possessing that environment. Hence, I wish to use this position as a means to cultivate a more informed public. More importantly, my goal is to inspire pioneer ways of thinking to prevent future lacks of forethought within the establishment, development and large-scale use of organic solvents to produce a greener and more sustainable planet. Additionally, partaking within events and working alongside the other board directors will enable me to offer viewers insight to keep them updated with the emergence of new forms of science and technology. This is imperative as it will not only attract more young scientists, but also convey the need for eclectic solutions that do not mirror old processes that do not account for the exposures and quantity of toxins altering the ecosystem.

Samson Alayande
Director of Finance & Fundraising

Current Career Status: Research Fellow
Institution Name: Centre for Energy Research and Development, Obafemi Awolowo University

Location: Nigeria
Brief biosketch: I received my doctoral degree in Chemistry from Federal University of Agriculture, Nigeria, where I worked on sustainable management of crude oil spillage. My research theme is “Materials for Energy and Environmental Sustainability”. I have worked extensively on developing re-use for polymer waste, nanostructuring of agricultural wastes into valuable materials, green synthesis of advance materials and sustainable chemistry.

Statement of interest: With more than seven  years’ experience as Researcher, I am well skilled in Sustainable Science, project design, collaboration, project evaluation, grant application, proposal development and technical report writing. Besides, I have the emotional and intellectual intelligence required for the position. As researcher, my duty has afforded me essential skills relevant to the position. These skills include effective communication, leadership, collaborating and presentation skills. Also, my educational background and enthusiasm for science will enhance my success on the position.


Director of Research

Sunitha Anup
Director of Research

Current Career Status: Graduate Student
Institution Name: Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
Brief biosketch: An outgoing, hardworking and fast-learning person with high analytical skills and research acumen. I hold Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from NIT, Kerala, Masters in Electrical Power Systems from University of Mumbai and PG Diploma in Instructional Design from Symbiosis Institute, Pune. Presently, I am a research scholar in IIT Delhi in the field of energy. I volunteered to be part of the NESSE to contribute to my dream of a future world filled with wellness feeling and sustainable environment. I strongly believe that the wisdom of mankind should be collaboratively used for the coexistence of our biosphere. In my free time, I enjoy travelling and going for marathons with my family.

Statement of interest: As a global citizen who is striving to be part of the efforts for sustainable development of energy and a cleaner environment, I look forward to utilizing my potentials in organizations working in the field of sustainable development goals. In NESSE, I look forward to working as Director of Research by providing research acumen and innovative ideas to support the international development program, work in unison with other members in the executive board and coordinate the necessary communication networks for success of the mission of the organization.







Thank you to all of our previous Executive Committee members

Luciana Miu | Director of Sustainable Science Groups 2016-2018

Luciana Miu | Director of Sustainable Science Groups 2016-2018

Tabitha Petchey | Executive Board Support 2016-2018

Tabitha Petchey | Executive Board Support 2016-2018

Dr Jennie Dodson | Executive Director 2013-2017 |

Daniel Pleissner | Director of Research 2016-2017

Daniel Pleissner |
Director of Research 2016-2017

Dr Norman Spencer | Director of Membership Activities 2015-2017 | membership@sustainablescientists.org

Dr Norman Spencer | Director of Membership Activities 2015-2017 |

Laura Hoch - Director of Sustainable Science Groups 2014-2016

Laura Hoch | Director of Sustainable Science Groups | 2014-2016

Dr Cristiano Varrone | Director of Research 2015-2017

Dr Cristiano Varrone | Director of Research 2015-2017

Julian Silverman Finance Director 2015-16

Julian Silverman | Finance Director | 2015-2016

Cliff Photo 3

Cliff Coss | Finance Director | 2014 -2015


Oxana Shibaeva | Mentorship Program Coordinator | 2013 – 2015

Anna Ivanova

Anna Ivanova | Director of Communications| 2014 – 2015

Melanie Mastronardi

Melanie Mastronardi | Events Co-ordinator | 2014 – 2015

Michael Nechayev

Michael Nechayev | NESSE Groups Support | 2014 – 2015

Savannah Sullivan

Savannah Sullivan | Strategy Development | Aug 2014 – Feb 2015

Giulia Paggiola

Giulia Paggiola | Membership Engagement | Aug 2014 – Feb 2015