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Holly R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Yale University


Water treatment, nanotechnology, environmental justice, environmental engineering, green chemistry, green engineering, environmental policy, sustainable materials


Hi! My name is Holly, and my research focus is on designing sustainable materials for effective point-of-use drinking water treatment. Access to safe drinking water is a basic human right, and we need to make sure that the materials that we use to ensure this right are environmentally sustainable and economically accessible. My doctoral research focused on synthesizing nanomaterials and biopolymers and using fundamental chemical principles to try and optimize their effectiveness. My research also focused on the intersection between green chemistry and environmental justice, and how many scientific and social systems interact. I am currently a science policy fellow in California where I get to put my research into practice by analyzing environmental policy at the state level. Beyond the lab, I am an avid swimmer (both in the pool and open water!). Last summer, I won first place in an open water 5k swim in Lake Tahoe, CA. I also love to read; I just finished the Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin and absolutely loved it! I have a cat named Periwinkle, who has been by my side for the past ten years.

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.

When is waste not wasted

In this project, we will learn about the key principles of the circular economy by investigating past examples of when "waste" materials were given a second life in a new application. We will then investigate current research into these "waste" materials and brainstorm ideas for their future use.

Just Chemistry

In this project, we will explore specific examples of how the goals of green chemistry and environmental justice interact to try and improve the health of communities and the environment. We will investigate the challenges and opportunities that chemists and engineers have faced/will face in developing more sustainable practices, and what types of environmental justice considerations must be taken into account. This project will draw from science and social science literature to produce an interdisciplinary final paper.

Coding skills

Python, Matlab, R

Teaching experience

I was a math and science teacher to students in 4th-8th grade for a year as a teaching fellow. I mentored high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in my PhD program. I was a peer advisor for students applying to graduate school. I was a mentor through a Society for Women Engineers. I was a TA for 3 semesters (teaching my own classes) in a Sustainable Design course based on the Principles of Green Chemistry and Green Engineering.


Work experience

California Council on Science and Technology (2023 - Current)
Science Policy Fellow
Apple Inc. (2022 - 2022)
Environmental Technologies Intern
Yale Office of Career Strategy (2019 - 2023)
Graduate School Peer Adviser and Manager
Pine Cobble School (2017 - 2018)
Teaching Fellow


Bowdoin College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2017)
Chemical Physics
Yale University
MS Master of Science
Environmental Engineering
Yale University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2023)
Environmental Engineering

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