Green Chemistry Education
- American Chemical Society/EPA Cooperative Activities
- Internships with EPA's Green Chemistry Program
- Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award in Green Chemistry
- Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship in Green Chemistry
- Other Educational Resources
This page provides information about activities and resources that support education in green chemistry concepts and practices.
Educating current and future chemists in green chemistry is a necessary first step toward preventing pollution through safer, greener chemical products and processes. Green chemistry cannot enter widespread practice unless chemists learn about it during their academic and professional training. To assist with education in green chemistry, EPA supports several projects including the development of materials and courses to educate students and train professional chemists in industry. Through EPA’s efforts, the chemical industry is discovering that if its professional chemists are trained in green chemistry, the industry can design and implement technologies that prevent pollution.
Starting in the summer of 1998, EPA and the American Chemical Society (ACS) initiated cooperative activities to research and develop educational materials on green chemistry. Activities undertaken through EPA-ACS cooperation have included developing a series of case studies for undergraduates and green chemistry laboratory modules to assist college and university professors in incorporating green chemistry into their courses. The ACS green chemistry education Web site contains useful educational materials that are, in part, a result of this collaboration.
Although the primary audience of the EPA-ACS cooperative activities has been undergraduate and graduate chemistry students, target audiences also include professional chemists, K-12 students, and the general public. A list of these educational resources is available at the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Web site .
ACS also has been revising many of its existing materials to include green chemistry. For example, the 7th Edition of Chemistry in Context (McGraw Hill College Division, 2011) features green chemistry throughout the text. This popular text is aimed at undergraduate students who are not science majors.
In addition, the American Chemical Society maintains a list of schools with green chemistry programs.
Both EPA and ACS disseminate green chemistry information and materials at conferences, workshops, and national meetings.
As part of its commitment to educating the next generation of chemists, EPA's Green Chemistry Program offers a limited number of volunteer internships for students at United States colleges and universities. Internships may be available for the month of January, spring semester/quarter, or summer. During these periods, interns’ work includes helping EPA staff work on nominations for the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards, exposing interns to a wide variety of real-world cutting-edge technologies. Interested students may contact the program at email@example.com.
EPA's Green Chemistry Program also is among the EPA offices that hire summer interns. These internships are available to students selected for paid fellowships under the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) program funded by EPA's Office of Research and Development.
One of the earliest proponents of green chemistry, then called “environmentally benign chemical synthesis and processing,” was Dr. Kenneth G. Hancock, director of the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Hancock was an active advocate for the central role of chemists and chemistry not only in solving environmental problems of the past, but, more importantly, in avoiding environmental problems in the future. It was therefore a great loss to the advancement of green chemistry when Dr. Hancock died unexpectedly while attending an environmental chemistry conference in Eastern Europe in September 1993.
Subsequently, Dr. Hancock's colleagues from academia, government, and industry established an annual Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award in green chemistry under the auspices of the American Chemical Society's Division of Environmental Chemistry . In June 1997, Dr. Paul Anderson, then ACS President, announced the first Hancock Memorial Award in Green Chemistry as an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to compete for this prestigious memorial award annually. The award provides national recognition to students for outstanding contributions to green chemistry through a research or study project.
In 2007, ACS expanded the Hancock Award under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards & Technology. ACS now presents two Hancock awards each year in conjunction with EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony.
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute invites nominations that describe the technical benefits as well as human health and environmental benefits of a student’s study or research project. The Awards Program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students. The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Web site contains additional information and the application package for the Hancock Award. The deadline for entering the Award Competition is March 1st each year.Design for the Environment and Green Chemistry Programs, both of which are EPA voluntary programs to reduce chemical risks and complement traditional regulatory programs. Dr. Breen was a founder of the worldwide green chemistry movement and the first director of the Green Chemistry Institute, now part of ACS.
Following his death in 1999, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute and the American Chemical Society (ACS) established the Joseph Breen Memorial Fund through the ACS International Endowment Fund. This fund commemorates Dr. Breen's commitment to the advancement of green chemistry. Each year, the fund awards one or more Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowships. In 2002, the fund financed the travel and expenses of its first young international green chemistry scholar to attend the Green Chemistry Gordon Research Conference in Oxford, UK.
The Breen Fellowship sponsors the participation of a young international green chemistry scholar in a green chemistry technical meeting, conference, or training program. A “young” international scholar is defined as an undergraduate student, graduate student, post doctoral fellow, and above, but below the level of Assistant Professor and within the first seven years of a professional career. Applicants residing within the United States or abroad are eligible for this award. The applicant must demonstrate research or an educational interest in green chemistry.
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute Web site contains application information for the Breen Fellowship. The deadline for submitting an application is March 1 of each year.
Beyond Benign is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting green chemistry across industry, academia, and the general public to create a safer and more sustainable world. Beyond Benign specializes in curriculum development, education, and training. It hosts a variety of green chemistry programs geared specifically for K-12 educators, professionals, and community members.
Green Chemistry Education Network (GC Ed Net) is a network of educators that serves as a catalyst to integrate green chemistry into chemical education at all levels. GC Ed Net supports opportunities to research, develop, implement, and disseminate green educational materials. The GC Ed Net reaches out to all chemistry educators through collaboration and mentoring, facilitating professional growth, and fostering the synergistic integration of green chemistry in education.
Greener Education Materials for Chemists (GEMS) is an interactive collection of chemistry education materials focused on green chemistry. The database is a comprehensive source of education materials including laboratory exercises, lecture materials, course syllabi and multimedia content that illustrate chemical concepts important to green chemistry. Each entry includes a description of the item and is searchable by a variety of data elements including chemistry concepts, laboratory techniques, green chemistry principles, and target audiences.University of Scranton Green Chemistry Web site offers a variety of resources to help educators incorporate green chemistry into their chemistry classes.