Outreach & Service

A Scientist: The Civil Servant

In the modern world, we view scientists as civil servants, which necessitates giving service back to society for investing in our work. While science is purely the pursuit of objective knowledge, our motivation for doing research is inherently subjective: fighting climate change. Climate change disproportionately harms low-income communities and communities of color, so we need an intersectional approach to solve this problem.

Despite claims of valuing diversity and underserved students, many voices have elocuted on the exclusionary and hostile environment of academia and academic science. We acknowledge that science has been used to hurt and marginalize communities (especially BIPOC) throughout much of US history, and therefore we believe it is our duty to provide opportunities for scientific growth to underrepresented groups while also developing a supportive community for such groups. To this end, we are involved in several media which we contribute time and resources to promote diversity in the sciences:

  • Denver Public School System: Coordinated by Paige Brimley, we are involved in mentorship and scientific engagement with several high schools in the Denver school system.

  • STEM Routes and the BOLD Center: This is our main hub for research projects and outreach events at CU. STEM Routes and the BOLD Center both work to provide opportunities, mentoring, and guidance to underrepresented students at CU. Please apply for a research position through the STEM Routes website, or directly contact Paige Brimley. Sign up for the BOLD newsletter to get alerted about upcoming events!

  • GAANN: We have several students who are GAANN fellows, a program is designed to train graduate students and future scientists and engineers in research, coursework, and teaching in a proposed area of national need.

  • Cientifico Latino: Engaging in mentoring to help undergraduate, graduate, and professional students access resources on scholarships, fellowships, and blog posts on professional development.

  • Outreach at NREL: Led by Nate Nesbitt, we are currently developing undergraduate engagement programs at NREL to incorporate underserved communities into the state-of-the-art research going on at those facilities.

Resources:

Our Renewable Vision

Anthropogenic climate change has already caused drastic changes to our planet and climate. Curtailing these emissions and capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide is the only path to producing a habitable planet. Even with the transition to renewable energies, climate change will still be exacerbated by humanity's consumption of fossil fuel products. Carbon capture and remediation are necessary to return to pre-anthropogenic climate stability, outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Our research group is passionately focused on science that can develop technologies to aid these efforts. All of these research efforts are in particular focused on scalable technology and technology at scale, bridging the gap between academia and industry in renewable energy.

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Science at Scale

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Above is a case study of the necessary scale to achieve a full carbon capture and conversion facility powered by renewable energy to produce 10,000 tons/day of methanol from electrochemistry, based on the current state-of-the-art technology. An enormous gap exists between the current pilot plant technology and what is necessary to realize these systems. Part of the problem contributing to this is academia's aversion to discussing science at scale: understanding chemical and physical changes that occur when scaling the size of newly developed technology, and improving their durability. We hope to bridge that gap by doing exciting science that can inform both benchtop researchers and industrial partners. Science and society need these partnerships to flourish to bring about the technology of tomorrow, today.