Each year, textiles account for 6% of all American municipal waste, ending in landfills and creating garbage vortexes in our oceans. Additionally, the textile industry is responsible for 3.3 billion metric tons of CO2 each year, which accounts for 5 to 10 % of total annual greenhouse gas emissions. My research aims to ameliorate this problem by finding biodegradable alternatives to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) textile fibers. I work closely with graduate student Natalie Mamrol to create high-throughput tests that screen our synthesized polymers for renewability and biodegradability, and compete with synthetic fibers in strength and stiffness. As the textiles industry continues to grow, an accelerated climate catastrophe inches closer as we continue to mass produce these non-decomposable fibers. Exploring options for an equally convenient and effective yet environmentally sustainable alternative to plastic offers one solution to this global issue.
I am from Washington, DC and am completing my bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Wellesley College. In my free time, I enjoy knitting, cycling, sailing, and skiing.