NESSE Elections

The 2020 Executive Board Election is now underway!  

NESSE is run by an Executive Board of eight dedicated volunteers. Half of the Board is elected each year for a two-year term starting at the beginning of September. The election process is currently underway – read more about the candidate below and vote by October 6th. For any questions regarding the election contact:

Cast your vote here by 10/6/2020

Candidates for the 2020 Election:

Co-Executive Director – no candidates

If you are interested in this position reach out to

Standing for Director of Finance –

Abby Giarrosso

Current Career Status: Research Associate
Institution: Evolved By Nature
Location: Medford, MA, USA
Country of Origin: United States
Background: While attending UMass Lowell for my Bachelor’s in chemistry, I found green chemistry working at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI). At TURI, I worked on finding, assessing, and creating safer alternatives for cleaning applications focusing on solvent cleaning. Over 5 years, I helped create two different safer paint strippers and created a database of safer solvents. This led to my Master’s thesis working on safer alternatives to acetone for nail polish removal. I’m now exploring a career in safer personal care formulations at Evolved By Nature. In college, I was lucky enough to go to many conferences, events, and volunteer programs that focus on green chemistry and got to create a network of like-minded colleagues which I am always looking to expand. Now that I’m out of college, I’m still trying to keep in touch and attend as many events as I can, but it has become more of a hobby. In my free time, I like keeping up with pop culture (TV, movies, award shows), gardening, playing with dogs, and going to farmers markets.

Statement of Interest:
I’ve recently taken an interest in finance and its relationship to sustainability. Sustainability is very closely tied with finance and the economy due to the capitalistic nature of the world today. Progress in sustainability and creating a circular economy is often blocked or stalled based on its economic feasibility and scalability. Globally we should be making sustainability a priority, but large-scale change needs to be financially sustainable as well.  My personal interest in finance started soon after I graduated with my Master’s and I learned about the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement which focuses on the idea of financial independence. To me, the idea means I could contribute my time to whichever scientific endeavor seemed the most promising rather than depending on a less impactful job for financial security. I’ve been teaching myself through blogs and podcasts and have learned a great deal about budgeting, tax law, and how to assess and prioritize needs. Since we are still a small non-profit organization I think the key to expanding our reach will be resourcefulness and stretching a dollar. 

If elected I would use the Director of Finance position to come up with creative ways to raise funds so we can create more events to connect scientists together. Primarily this would be through submitting many grant applications and reaching out to businesses and individuals for donations. I’m excited at the idea of brainstorming with the NESSE board for more unique fundraising opportunities. I think it would be fantastic if NESSE could be a resource for sustainable scientists to rely on for financial support for conferences, events, and maybe eventually funding for their own sustainable projects. I definitely think this is possible in the future and we can start laying the groundwork for this now.

I’m thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of the NESSE Executive Board and join a group that collaborates internationally, is solution-oriented, and embraces a holistic approach to sustainability. My favorite part of conferences is meeting the people behind the sustainable science making the world a better place because the people are usually just as awesome as their research. I have been involved with several other conferences and green chemistry organizations such as the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute, Beyond Benign, and the ACS Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference and Summer School. Based on my travels and event experience I feel that I have a diverse network of people throughout their careers and by joining NESSE I would have a unique opportunity to connect more people together.

Executive Board Support – no candidates

If you are interested in this position reach out to

– Standing for Director of Research

Mevan Dissanayake

Current Career Status: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Institution: University of Rochester
Location: Rochester, New York, USA
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Background: I am an early career green chemist with a strong focus on making advances in synthetic chemistry to introduce novel greener synthetic pathways and greener pathways for organic and inorganic transformations. I pursued my graduate studies at Prof. Aaron Vannucci Research Group at the University of South Carolina in developing anion pool method, which is an electrosynthetic technique that introduces a base free approach for the derivatization of pharmaceutically important molecules. This method found its applications into base free derivatization of benzimidazole and selective functionalization of indazole and further into atom economic amidation. My graduate research work got recognized with Kenneth Hancock Memorial Award. During my post-doctoral research at Prof. Ellen Matson Group I focused on the synthesis of Fe based complexes with modifications in their secondary coordination sphere and study their effect on the diversity of coordination modes of nitrite ligands at iron metal centre. During my research career, I have developed the skills of a synthetic chemist and I would like to pursue further in the direction of green chemistry. I enjoy daily running and photography.

Statement of Interest:
I  stand for the chosen position because I believe I can support the initiation of collaborative research between research organizations in different countries, initiation of knowledge sharing sessions, and green chemistry popularization programs. I have over seven years of research experience and throughout my research career during meetings with research professionals of different countries, the importance of international collaborations has been emphasized. I believe by serving as the director of research I will have the opportunity to serve as a facilitator to find collaborators from the US for green chemistry researchers in other parts of the world. In addition, this role will provide me the opportunity to work with green chemists to popularize green chemistry in social media. I’m passionate about initiating conversations about implementing green chemistry at industrial and academic research laboratories and how society in general receives its impact. I believe as the director of research I will have the opportunity for such initiatives.

 If I’m elected I will launch a campaign that gets visibility for NESSE in the international arena as a facilitator of collaborative research. It serves to increase the membership of NESSE and also diversity among members. It will also increase the popularity of NESSE internationally. There are green chemistry researchers in countries that don’t receive much visibility in journals because of the low frequency of the publication output from them. Through facilitator programs for collaborations, such researchers can receive ideas and support to improve the quality of research. I also intend to launch Twitter and Linkedin campaigns to popularize green chemistry among non-science professionals. A variety of social media posts with different taglines can attract attention for NESSE in social media. It fulfills the gap in social media at present for conversations about green chemistry and how impactful it is to society in general. I have a couple of interested parties in Sri Lanka about hosting knowledge acquiring sessions on Green Chemistry Research Initiatives in the US. I believe being the director of research I will be able to organize such a session to inspire green chemistry research in a developing country.

I have wide experience in networking organizations from my undergraduate days. I was the event coordinator of Chemical Society of University of Colombo where I reached out to about 20 scientists from leading universities in the world to receive articles about their cutting edge research to compile a magazine called “Resonance”. After graduation, I served as the president of the special task unit of Sri Lanka Saukyadhana Movement which is a non-profit voluntary organization. I initiated two projects to support disabled citizens. One project supported a home that looks after disabled soldiers. The other project took care of the renovation of a hospital ward that looks after differently abled children. Fundraising and planning for both these projects were led by myself which enabled me to network with a variety of professionals who support charity.  As a graduate student, I served as the secretary of the student body of the department of chemistry and worked on organizing t-shirt campaigns to raise funds and organizing evening picnics to welcome new graduate students.

Director of Sustainable Science Groups Position – 2 Candidates

Fanny Yuen

Current Career Status: Scientist
Institution: Procter and Gamble
Location: Belgium
Country of Origin: 
Background: I share your passion for sustainability. I firmly believe that companies and academia need to do better to drive meaningful change. 

My background is in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotech. I’ve had the opportunity to conduct academic research in many interesting fields from Green Chemistry, to polymers, and nano-particles, to using proteins from anhydrobiotic organisms to make dryable biomolecules. 

I’ve also had a variety of experiences in the field, including a position as the Head R&D at a start-up during its acceleration phase (Cambridge Biolabs/Accelerate Cambridge) and a stint on an internationally syndicated Science Radio show (BBC/Naked Scientists).  

Currently, I work as an R&D Process Engineer at Procter and Gamble. I work on a variety of new initiatives in the Green and Natural consumer goods space. I champion productivity increases by scaling down or eliminating wasteful pilot plant trials by finding ways to use small scale lab set-ups (from 22 tonnes/hr to 7kg/hr) and computer modelling (from 10 tonnes/hr to zip). 

As a side project at P&G, I’ve been leading their Green Labs initiative for Global Hand Dish Washing (e.g. Dawn/Fairy).  

Statement of Interest:
I believe that my background, experience, and passion will make me an asset to the Executive Board of NESSE. I have a multitude of volunteer experiences, including multiple terms on the Board of Directors of a large non-profit housing cooperative (WCRI). 

I’m excited to stand for “Director of Sustainable Groups”. I have a can-do attitude and have a history of successfully implementing new initiatives. I feel that my experiences in both academia and industry allow me to better understand their respective challenges and connect with multiple groups. 

In my studies, work, and personal life, I am continuously driving the conversation and encouraging sustainable and Green Chemistry/Engineering practices. Therefore, I have the skills to help NESSE sustainable groups through their entire journey. I will motivate and encourage fledgling groups take their first steps towards engaging their community and building their team. We will work together to determine their goals and design a suitable action plan. Then, my job will be to help make connections between our international groups to enable exchanging of ideas, sharing experiences and, ideally, build synergies. 

I would like to see increased involvement of industry teams. I know many students and academic researchers care about sustainability. And this passion does not disappear just because they’ve moved on to industrial jobs. I know first-hand that young industrial scientists can find it very intimidating to speak up and be a sustainability change agent within an existing company structure. If the initiative does not deliver bottom line improvements (brand awareness/sales, savings, or profit), there can be great resistance from management. I have experience starting successful grass-roots Green projects in a multi-national company on zero budget and no managerial support. I want to especially encourage and support these groups as they face also this challenge. 

Silmara Furtado

Current Career Status: PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering
Institution: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Location: Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Country of Origin: Brazil

I am a Chemical Engineer and, currently, a PhD candidate in Engineering of Chemical and Biochemical Processes at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and an undergraduate student in Chemistry Education. 

My postgraduate research theme is related to Green Chemistry, in which I develop a synthetic route to convert ethanol into 1,3-butadiene, a high-value chemical used mainly in the production of synthetic rubbers. The ability to source this chemical from biomass is of considerable current interest because it offers the potential to reduce the life-cycle greenhouse gas impact associated with butadiene production from petroleum-derived naphtha. 

As a Chemistry educational researcher, I invest my time in environmental education outreach programs dedicated to Green Chemistry, Circular Economy, and applications of algae.

I believe that handling a researcher’s life requires a good level of planning and prioritization, and maintaining good relationships is the base of our lives. In this way, during the week I take dance classes, and my weekends, holidays, and vacation time are dedicated to my friends and family when we have social meetings indoors, go on trails, visit new sightseeings and travel. 

Statement of Interest:
I wish to stand for the director of Sustainable Science Groups because I strongly agree with the vision and the values of the NESSE movement. I believe that joining the group will be an opportunity to learn with experienced people and broaden my vision about sustainability.

Moreover, I would like to establish partnerships with public schools, universities, companies, social projects, and government agencies to provide an approach to making better and long term decisions on the issues that affect our lives, like Green Chemistry related-themes which show the versatility of their applications to everyday life.

This contact is important to stimulate interactions with different stakeholders, advertising their activities, and exchanging ideas in areas related to environmental science.

If elected, I plan to support the mission and aims of NESSE. Through meetings, social media contacts, and research networks, I intend to promote teaching activities, consulting, and advisory services to: 
– engage discussions of green solutions for the universities and their surrounding communities
– establish a network to develop skills and marketing training courses; 
– improve the quality of academic activities; and
– implement policies of social interests.

Until now, I have three experiences that have prepared me for serving on the Executive Board of NESSE:

1) Circular Economy outreach project at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Since 2018 I am a collaborator of the extension project “Catalyzing Circular Economy”. The main objectives of the group are guiding activities focused on paradigm shifts and stakeholder involvement.

Our principal developments were (1) creating a blog ( to write articles about Circular Economy and cross-cutting themes, (2) organizing a presential workshop about Circular Economy business models to both academic and professional audience, and (3) writing a book about Circular Economy concepts in different economic sectors. 

In this group, I have been learning about Chemical Leasing, a Circular Economy business model. I could write articles to the blog and meet experts in this theme, as Ana Oestreich. She is a Brazilian consulting at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and has made important contributions to the activities I develop in another group that I participate in, the ACS UFRJ Student Chapter.

2) ACS UFRJ Student Chapter

I currently serve as chairperson of the American Chemical Society (ACS) student chapter at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). 

The Chapter is dedicated to Green Chemistry activities and has two major goals: (1) establish a link to UFRJ academic initiatives and extension projects on environment and 2) promote different conversation and lecture formats of Green Chemistry and its interdisciplinary themes that reach a broader audience of students and professionals.

Being part of the group is an enriching experience. We interact with international guests, knew the advances in Green Chemistry abroad, and networked with national institutions. The integrants also attend leadership summits where our mission, vision, and goals are aligned, we learn about ACS structure, understand the difficulties faced by other Latin America student chapters, and strengthen our ties to them.

Since June we present Green Chemistry webinars, an activity that engaged and integrated the group. We determined both format and speaker, created our marketing strategies, and set up the registration form. These actions resulted in satisfactory feedback received from the registrants. 

I also consider the Chapter a great opportunity to develop the member’s soft skills. In general, we apply the following tools: 1) considering our abilities, 2) creating a culture of feedback, 3) investing in good relationships between members, and 4) maintaining the balance between chapter activities and each integrant personal life.

3) Pop Algae

In July 2020 I joined Pop Algae, an outreach co-creation initiative. It is a collaborative development of algae environmental applications together with experts and/or stakeholders, It is a space of sharing ideas, perspectives, and strategies to create new outreach materials and activities. 

In general terms, the group aims to popularize the algae use because each collaborator believes that algae could be the answer to all of those challenges providing a valuable source of carbon-neutral fuels, aquafeeds for the agriculture and aquaculture industries, and high-protein food products for direct human consumption.

As a recent group, whenever possible, the Pop Algae organizers make recruitments to increase the number of multidisciplinary collaborators. Currently, we have redistributed the functions of the members for all integrants to have specific duties. This initiative increased their engagement and made them more motivated to suggest and coordinate algae divulgation activities. Also, we started discussing the importance of establishing the personal brand of Pop Algae.

How does the Executive Board operate?

The NESSE Executive Board is responsible for setting out the vision and priorities of the organisation, developing new projects and working closely with our partners to help all of our members.

The Board is distributed globally so we work together online via skype calls and using an online organisational tool (Asana) to manage projects and activities between meetings.

Our general requirements, regardless of position, are:

  • You need to be a current NESSE early-career member. You can join for FREE here.
  • You need to be passionate about sustainability, and agree with our mission, vision, and values.
  • You need to be able to commit time to the organisation. To be effective, most positions require 5-10hrs/month on average.
  • Self-motivation is important for the digital environment that we work in.
  • Submit an application by August 30th for the 2020 election

The key roles and responsibilities of the Executive Board are:

  • Taking joint responsibility for managing the financial and legal responsibilities of NESSE
  • Maintaining active communication with the rest of the Board, external stakeholders and volunteers including checking and using our online project management system 3-4 times per week (Asana)
  • Attending 1-2h Executive Board meetings every month and twice yearly half day online strategy planning sessions
  • Developing the strategy and activities of your particular area of responsibility and leading the activities
  • Recruiting and managing a team of members responsible for specific tasks related to your area of work
  • Bringing to the Board new strategies and proposals
  • Writing detailed handover notes and give full in person handover to new Director
  • Communicating any periods of absence or reductions in workload to Executive Director

How do I apply to be on the Executive Board?

Any self-defining early-career member of NESSE can stand for election to the Executive Board. Prospective candidates can submit a candidacy for one specific position on the Board. Apply now! 

In order to stand for election, you must complete and submit an official application for candidacy for the desired position. The application must include a biography, past experience, your goals for the position and two professional references. Those standing for the Executive Director position will also need to submit a 2 min video answering a specific set of questions. The information within your application will be distributed via NESSE’s social networking platforms, website and email system.

Open positions for the 2020 Election:
Co-Executive Director
Director of Finance
Executive Board Support
Director of Research
Director of Sustainable Science Groups 

What is the timeline and process for the elections?

Elections typically take place during May- September. The 2020 election timeline is as follows:

Applications open: July 19th – August 30th 

2-3 weeks of campaign and voting (campaign, online questions/interviews/hustings, social media): August 31st- October 6th

Results to candidates: October 15th

Results to membership: October 30th

Election process
All members will be informed of the election at least one month prior to the election opening. Information about people standing for election will be posted prior to the election opening. All elections are to be carried out via a suitable electronic system. In the event of a system failure, the election period shall be extended by a maximum of seven days.

During this two week elections period an online meeting, twitter discussion, or some other means of online communication, will be held to enable members to learn more about the people standing for positions and to ask questions of them. The webinar or other format of communication will involve NESSE members or previous Board members talking about different positions, what they do, what they think they need rather than a combative hustings. A twitter/facebook/webinar discussion may be run for all candidates.

All registered early-career members of NESSE can vote for one candidate within each position up for election. The voting system will be the Condorcet voting system. In the event of a mathematical tie, a runoff election between the two candidates must occur the following week.

Frequently asked questions

How many members does the NESSE Executive Board have?

The Executive Board consists of 8 members.

Who is eligible to run for the NESSE Executive Board?

Any self-defining early-career member of NESSE can stand for election to the Executive Board. Past Executive Board members are eligible to run for up to three two year terms in total as long as they fit the other eligibility criteria.

Who elects the Executive Board?

The Executive Board is elected by the early-career members of NESSE.

How long is a term on the Executive Board?

Exex Board Directors are elected for two years from September 1 to August 31st two years later.

How does the Executive Board conduct meetings?

The Executive Board usually meets once or twice a month online via Skype. In between, the Executive Board Directors are in regular contact using our online management tool, Asana, and via email. In the future we would like to schedule one in-person meeting at the beginning of the term, to help all outgoing and incoming Executive Board to get to know each other and develop strategy, but this will depend on Board member availabilities and funding. We also try to arrange meetings with Executive Board Directors at larger conferences that we know a few of us will attend.

If you have any questions about the Executive Board positions or the elections please contact