Raksmey Derival (she/her) is a Cambodian woman, daughter of refugee immigrants, and mother of Cambodian-Haitian sons. She graduated from Suffolk University with a degree in biochemistry and forensic science which helped her gain industry experience at forensic toxicology and green chemistry labs. Raks pursued graduate studies in green chemistry with Dr. Amy Cannon and Dr. John Warner at the Center for Green Chemistry at UMass Lowell before transitioning to Beyond Benign, where she gained experience engaging with K-12 educators and student scholars. Her work included supporting scholars to be green chemistry ambassadors through public engagement, developing hands-on green chemistry lessons, and empowering science educators to incorporate green chemistry into their curriculum. She is honored to be a Beyond Benign Certified Green Chemistry Lead Teacher.
Raks is a high school (grades 9-12) science teacher at Innovation Academy Charter School. She aspires to facilitate her chemistry, green chemistry, forensic science, and science and social justice classes through anti-bias, anti-racist, equitable and culturally responsive teaching lenses. In 2019, Raks was inducted into the American Chemical Society’s Aula Laudis Honor Society, considered a Hall of Fame for high school chemistry teachers in the northeast US. She is honored to serve on the Massachusetts Culturally Responsive Teaching Task Force and IACS Racial Justice Committee. Raks is passionate about healing the world through kindness and science, creating positive energy in social justice movements, and empowering others to remember that they are always, and in all ways, greater than they think they are.