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Mackenzie H

- Research Program Mentor

MS at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie de Montpellier


Environmental Sciences (agriculture, plant biology, ecology, etc), Arts - dance or creative writing, Business Topics, and Sustainability of environmental, social, and economic topics. Solar energy development as well.


Hello! Bonjour! My name is Mackenzie, and I have just wrapped up my graduate degree in viticulture and enology (fancy terms for wine science) in the South of France and Italy. As fun as this sounds, I am really focused on finding solutions to reduce the strain that agriculture and energy production puts on our environment. Because of this, I study greenhouse gas emissions, water/CO2 footprints, environmental engineering, and any innovative solution looking to push us towards SUSTAINABILITY. Previously, I have guided students projects in industrial agricultural pollution, the discrimination that female farmers face in Africa, water pollution solutions, how to clean up a park in someone's home town, carbon footprints, carbon market loopholes, and much more. Over the summer I was working in lithium-ion energy storage but traded this for my current position in solar energy maintenance and operations. I monitor the performance of huge solar arrays and use data analysis to determine if they are producing efficiently. You would be amazed to hear some of the stories that cause solar panels to break... munching sheep... lightning... aggressive birds! On the other hand, the arts--specifically dance--are my safe space. I have studied and taught countless styles. I am also interested in poetry and creative writing. I think this gives me my edge in editing and publication of student research. Polygence also employs me as a "Showcasing Specialist" where I specifically help students publish their projects in journals. Recently, Polygence has invited me to teach a Pod (six session focus group course) I designed called "Nature Is Our Solution: Learn how we can leverage nature-based technologies to sequester carbon and fight climate change." I am excited to meet you!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Potential Solutions to Reduce the Environmental Footprint of My High School

Most of what we do as humans causes some effect on the environment. With the way we live now, our greenhouse-gas-emissions, water-use, and waste-creation (just to name a few) put an unhealthy strain on our environment. Fortunately, there are ways to calculate these metrics for a given place or process and later identify hotspot issues. From there, we can come up with action plans and more sustainable solutions. For this project, it is advised that the student start by identifying common streams of inputs and outputs at their school. For example, a student can note inputs like supplies, food, water and even energy sources like the gas for heating or school buses. Outputs like food waste, flushing toilets, and all those old homework papers can be noted, too. The student will attempt to quantify and analyze all these streams… especially focusing on potential hotspots like energy/CO2 emissions. Data may be available (monthly fuel for buses, building heating bills) or some data could be collected by the student (average portion of lunch food thrown away). The student should practice creating data tables and graphs, and most importantly, interpreting these results. Finally, the student should do thorough research to discover and present innovative solutions to reduce the environmental strain of their school. Most likely, there would be a written deliverable for this project; but, it could also be a great opportunity for the student to visually present this project to a principal, teachers, or school board. In summary, the student will gain knowledge about issues and solutions relating to environmental sustainability. In addition, the student will gain tangible skills in calculating environmental metrics, collecting data, and creating descriptive visuals like advanced graphs. The project can be altered to fit a student’s needs and interests.

Languages I know

French - intermediate

Teaching experience

I have not often mentored academically, but I have vast experience teaching 4-18 year olds in dance classes. I was president of a dance club in college; and now, I also teach yoga (mostly to adults). At Polygence, I have mentored or assisted in showcasing for about 20 students.


Work experience

Cornell University Food Science Research Laboratory (2020 - 2020)
Laboratory Assistant and Field Data Collector
Various experience in the Wine Industry (2018 - Current)
Harvest Intern --> Professional, Hospitality, Agricultural Management, Wine Analysis
Dance Studios and Gyms (2016 - Current)
Dance and Yoga Instructor
EnerSys & QE Solar (2023 - Current)
Engineering Project Manager, Portfolio Lead & Data Analysis


Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)
BS Bachelor of Science (2021)
Agribusiness Management
Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Agronomie de Montpellier
MS Master of Science
Viticulture, Enology, and Sustainability

Completed Projects

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