Natalie O’Neil

Executive Director

NatalieName: Natalie O’Neil
Current Career Status: PhD Student
Institution or Organisation Name: University at Albany State, USA


I am a graduate student in the Chemistry Ph.D. program at the University at Albany (UAlbany). The concentration of my graduate research is on single crystal growth of multiply-charged nonplanar polyaromatic hydrocarbons in order to provide the first X-Ray diffraction studies of these extremely reactive chemical species. Their solid state characterization allows for investigation into the geometrical perturbations upon multi-electron additions and aggregation patterns with both alkali- and alkaline metal ions. These studies serve as fundamental research for lithium ion battery technology. While it has been challenging and rewarding, over the years of my graduate study I have come to realize that I was not conducting research in a way that was in line with my commitment to sustainability in all other aspects of my life. Looking for a connection between chemistry and sustainability I found NESSE and entered into the mentoring program, since then I have found a true passion for green chemistry and try to use the principles in my research as well as spread the message to my fellow graduate students. In my free time I enjoy time with my dog Tyson and my husband, hiking, cooking, playing soccer and traveling. I love being a busy bee.

Aims and aspirations for role within NESSE

I want to share the great information that NESSE has to offer with as many early career scientists and engineers as possible so that the next generation of scientists and engineers will be more sustainable than the generation before them. As a student seeking for a connection between Chemistry and sustainability I found NESSE in an indirect way and I want to help as many students and young professionals as I can find NESSE easily, engage and inspire them as well as recruit them to become members, this role will help fulfil that desire.

As the Director of Communication and Marketing, I will help to support the mission of NESSE by engaging chemists, biologists and engineers through discussions on sustainability and promoting cooperation between these fields to find solutions to our global challenges. To do this I plan to use a lively social media approach, this will quickly reach out to many students and young professionals. I will actively make connections and stay in tune to who is following us and what more we can do to encourage others to join in the discussions. I feel that social media is a dynamic tool because it allows us to find and make contacts that maybe interested in sustainability but have never had a chance to hear about NESSE before. I also think that it is critical that NESSE market itself, resources and benefits of our network to universities and sustainability organizations that already exist to create a larger network. As for the blog portion  I hope to bring in authors that are inspirational sustainable scientists who are established in a variety of fields to cover a large scope of topics, promote discussion and boost blog traffic. One way to stimulate the blog might be to see what current and new members want to read about by sending out a survey to gauge the audience that the blog is currently reaching.

As a graduate student I have been involved in establishing and promoting a graduate student organization on the University at Albany (UAlbany) campus; the Graduate Society for Sciences which is an interdisciplinary alliance between chemistry, biomedical sciences, biology, physics and atmospheric sciences. I have served as the secretary for this organization; in this role I have been responsible for all the marketing of events, communication between the executive board and the general student body and recruitment of new members. In this position I have had the opportunity to work with a broad range of scientist and have benefited from their diverse points of views.

Recently I travelled to Toronto to network with the students of the Green Chemistry Initiative (GCI) at the University of Toronto and was inspired to start a similar student group at UAlbany, Green Chemistry Graduate Council (GCGC).