Amy received the world’s first Ph.D. in Green Chemistry. Holding an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Saint Anselm College (1997), Amy sought to use her chemistry degree within the field of sustainability. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, she met Dr. John Warner, who introduced her to green chemistry, a blossoming movement in the late 1990’s. It was there where they created a Ph.D. concentration in Green Chemistry, addressing the education gap in chemistry education – chemists were not being properly prepared with skills to design and create solutions to support the development and implementation of sustainable chemical products. After working in industry (Rohm and Haas, and Gillette Company) and academia (University of Massachusetts Lowell), Amy remained passionate about Green Chemistry education, recognizing the growing need for education systems to change to prepare scientists with Green Chemistry skills to address sustainability through chemistry. In 2007, Amy co-founded, Beyond Benign, a non-profit solely dedicated to advancing Green Chemistry education. Since inception, this organization has been leading Green Chemistry education initiatives in K-12 through higher education, focusing on empowering educators to make transformative change in their teaching and practice.
Amy has been recognized for her work in research (Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award in Green Chemistry in 2004, for titanium dioxide semiconductors and their application in dye-sensitized solar cells) and also for her leadership in driving green chemistry education (2012 EPA New England Environmental Merit award). Beyond Benign’s work has also been recognized through the ACS NERM Partners for Progress and Prosperity (P3) Region Award (2016), and as a semi-finalist in the Buckminster Fuller Challenge (2013).
Hear directly from Amy:
- On the central role that chemistry and chemistry education plays in addressing global sustainability challenges: Sustainable Innovation Through Green Chemistry Podcast (Innovation+ Talks hosted by Paul Heller)
- On the power of community to create transformative change in education
- “Women in Green Chemistry and Engineering: Agents of Change Toward the Achievement of a Sustainable Future”, ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2022, 10, 9, 2859-2865.
- “Safe and Sustainable Chemistry Activities: Fostering a Culture of Safety in K-12 and Community Outreach Programs”, Cannon, A.S., Keirstead, A.E., Hudson, R., Levy, I.J., MacKellar, J., Enright, M., Anderson, K.R., Howson, E.M., J. Chem. Educ., 2021, 98, 1, 71-77.
- “A Systems Thinking Department: Fostering a Culture of Green Chemistry Practice among Students”, Dicks, A.P., D’eon, J.C., Morra, B., Chisu, C.K., Quinlan, K.B., Cannon, A.S., J. Chem. Educ., In Press, 2019. [DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.9b00287]
- “Models for integrating toxicology concepts into chemistry courses and programs”, Cannon, Amy S., Finster, David, Raynie, Douglas, and Warner, John C., Green Chemistry Letters and Reviews, 10:4, 2017, 436-443.
- “The Green Chemistry Commitment: Transforming chemistry education in higher education” Cannon, Amy S. and Levy, Irvin J. in The Promise of Chemical Education: Addressing our Students’ Needs, ACS Symposium Series, Vol. 1193, 2015, pp. 115-125.