Beyond Benign

Lead Teacher

Sharon Cates

Capital High School
Boise, ID
Years teaching: 13


Cates, Sharon

How did you connect with Beyond Benign?
I attended sessions at the Idaho Science Teachers Association meeting and then took the Introduction to
Green Chemistry on-line class from Beyond Benign. All of this was through my good friend and fellow
lead teacher Tanya Elmer.

What first drew you into teaching and science education?
Teaching is a second career for me. When I left research, I wanted a new life where I was directly
touching the lives of people. I fell into teaching and it is where I belong. I love science and I love
teaching so I am a science teacher.

What excited you most about teaching green chemistry?
I was a scientist in states that heavily regulated how waste was disposed of. Even though I worked in
Chemistry research labs through college and biochemistry labs in grad school, I never had to think as
hard about what to do with my waste as I did in industry. Life is more dangerous when we don’t
understand the hazards and I want my students to be safe in lab and in life. The Green Chemistry
Principles bring chemical use into focus and are a fabulous tool to understand chemistry in everyday life.

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