Member Spotlight

Igor Cunha (@igortcunha)
Ph.D Candidate
Queen’s University

What is an interesting fact about yourself?
I am constantly playing sports, especially volleyball. And most recently I started learning hip-hop dancing.

Why did you become a NESSE member?
I was invited by one of the executive members during the ACS Green Chemistry Summer School. And being part of a green chemistry global network was very exciting and I see it as the way forward.

What do you think the future will look like?
I see a deeper level of care for needs of other people. Where the goal is to make sure that everyone has all they need to thrive and achieve their best self. By doing so, promoting positive change and growth, no matter what part of the world you are from or challenges you might face.

How do you think you will contribute to the future through sustainable science?
Research is something that motivates me in a deep level. I always try to be involved with research projects that seek to improve the way we currently do things. Green and sustainable chemistry provide the tools we need to improve our world, and if I can make even a small contribution to these fields, which could potentially be applied outside of the lab, I am happy with it. I also believe that I need to do more, being more in touch with the needs of communities and people around me, which is a challenge, but it is something that I strive for and see being a very important step.


Natalie O’Neil (@natjoneil)
Executive Director, NESSE
Higher Education Program Manager, Beyond Benign

What is an interesting fact about yourself?
I garden and raise chickens, ducks and geese on 1 acre with my husband and dog.

Why did you become a NESSE member?
Membership was recommended to me by conference leaders at the 2019 ACS GC&E conference.

What do you think the future will look like?
I think the future looks like people acting locally while thinking globally and doing so across disciplines to solve global challenges. Everyone has a part to play in creating our sustainable future.

How do you think you will contribute to the future through sustainable science?
I am an educator, sharing what I know, I am the last mile of connectivity. My mission is to get information and opportunities from the leaders in the field of Green Chemistry to the next generation and to those that want to join the community in practicing sustainability through chemistry. If we want to create a sustainable future we need to do it at the molecular level with chemists who are trained to think about human health and environmental impacts before they enter a laboratory or design a chemical synthesis. We then need to share this with the community at large, something I strive to do more of.