How did you connect with Beyond Benign?
I attended the 2018 College Chemistry Canada conference, where Dr. Amy Cannon delivered the plenary lecture. A colleague had told me about the Green Chemistry Commitment and the Lead Teacher program and encouraged me to introduce myself to Dr. Cannon, who encouraged me to contact Beyond Benign.
What first drew you into teaching and science education?
In 2005, I accepted a maternity-leave contract to teach chemistry at the same community college where I taught music. I realized during that time that the behaviour of an electron in an atom and a sound wave on an acoustic instrument can be understood analogously. I had very strong instruction in music and chemistry in high school, consequently my understanding of each of these two areas of knowledge have reinforced one another since then. By continually searching for deep connections between my two academic passions I am better able to connect a student’s passion to chemistry.
What excites you most about teaching green chemistry?
I am a child of the Cold War. I grew up in Canada. I was well aware that when the Soviet ICBMs missed the Boeing plant, Fort Lewis, McCord AFB, and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard that my city would be rendered a smoking, uninhabitable hole in the Earth for all eternity. There wasn’t much I, or my countrymen, could do about the matter, other than challenge the Soviets to hockey tournaments and win them on behalf of the Free World. I see climate change, food security, water security, and resource depletion as greater and more tangible existential threats than Mutually Assured Destruction. Green Chemistry is a tool to empower children to do something to address these threats.