The Winners of the “Tell a Story about Green Chemistry” Video Competition

Professor Paul Anastas with Anna Zhenova and Michael Shen
Thursday, July 5, 2018

On June 18, 2018 at the 22nd Green Chemistry & Engineering conference in Portland Oregon, Anna Zhenova, Alisa Doroshenko, and Michael Shen were announced as the winners of the “Tell a Story about Green Chemistry” video competition. The competition was sponsored by the Molecular Design Research Network [], an initiative from the Center at Yale that is focused on safer molecular design. The competition, announced in March 2018, was for postdoctoral, undergraduate, and graduate students and required creativity and scientific accuracy to address the question “How are chemists using Green Chemistry to solve sustainability challenges in your region?”

The announcement of the winners was part of a symposium that was hosted by members of the Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering and was focused on the implementation of green chemistry to developing countries and economies in transition. The Yale Center is currently collaborating with UNIDO on the Global Green Chemistry Initiative.

The announcement ceremony began with Dr. Philip Coish, Program Manager for the Center giving an overview of the video competition in the context of Green Chemistry dissemination efforts by the Center at Yale.

The first presentation was an award to a team of Anna Zhenova and Alisa Doroshenko from the University of York who produced a fascinating video about green chemistry and science across borders.  The title of their video is “A Passion for Green Chemistry, and How we can Change the World Together”.

“Alisa and I love the international nature of the York Green Chemistry Centre. In our time there, we’ve met researchers from every continent except Antarctica, and they have a multitude of backgrounds and stories about why they got into green chemistry. With our video, we wanted to share that with the rest of the world, and show what a positive and engaging environment you can build when you’re inclusive of all nationalities, ethnicities, and genders. This is particularly important as green chemistry becomes a part of the worldwide effort to transition to a circular economy, because it must accommodate a diversity of viewpoints and needs. We see green chemistry spreading to every country around the world, and hope that our video can help make that happen” said Anna Zhenova.

The second presentation was an award to Michael Shen from Northeastern University. Michael created an excellent video about the need for green chemistry education. The title of his video is “Green Chemistry Education – A Shift in Paradigm”. Michael was inspired by the raising need for green chemistry education. “The inspiration for my video is mainly drawn from my work with Beyond Benign, a green chemistry program in Boston that focuses on introducing students and educators to the basic principles of sustainable learning. Although researchers and industry leaders are more conscious of green chemistry, it is still evident that the field of education has not achieved the same paradigm shift. As a result, the video is a call to action for everyone, educator or not, to recognize the importance of green chemistry education. In the following years, I hope to see that all chemistry taught is founded upon green concepts regardless of the education level; ultimately resulting in a world where green chemistry becomes an underlying value across all industries and fields. After all, it is the next generation that will be shaping our future – from solving global dilemmas to local complications.”

Both videos were shown at the GC&E session which was followed with Q&A from the audience. The award ceremony ended with congratulations from Professor Paul Anastas, the project leader of the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative. Their videos are hosted on our website.

About Anna and Michael:

Anna Zhenova is a Ph.D. student at the University of York, where she’s working on green solutions to major problems in industry, focusing on the replacement of hazardous solvents with safer alternatives. Before beginning her Ph.D., she worked at the GC3, where she helped companies across a wide range of industries adopt sustainable chemical practices. Anna is now in the last year of her Ph.D. program, and afterwards she intends to continue working with industry to accelerate the adoption of green chemistry.

Michael Shen is a rising senior at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. For the past two years, he has participated in Northeastern University’s Center of Renewable Energy Technology assisting in research for non-precious metal catalysts. Outside of the classroom, Michael also volunteers in organizations such as Beyond Benign, a program interested in promoting green chemistry in the classroom setting. He has also worked as a researcher at Liquiglide, a startup focused on making permanently wet surfaces to reduce consumer product waste. Looking forward, Michael hopes to continue to pursue further education in chemistry and work in sustainable consumer product design.