March 4: Rise & Shine: Plastics - Research to Recycling

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Rise & Shine: Plastics - Research to Recycling

Thursday, March 4, 2021
9:009:45 a.m.

Plastic Bottles

With the convenience of plastic, our use has increased significantly, while the opportunities to recycle or properly dispose of our waste have drastically decreased.

In this session of Rise & Shine, we will discuss the reality of plastics pollution, the complex problem with plastics, and the solutions needed to make impactful changes. Though the focus of this pollution can be on the consumer, the plastics industry’s end-of-life strategies and businesses evaluating their production and packaging solutions at the beginning of the product’s life cycle are key to solving the problem.

Penn State Behrend is able to contribute to the changes needed by implementing new technologies, curriculums, sustainability programs, and an interdisciplinary effort to improve the freshwater quality—an opportunity that is unique to Erie but making an impact on the global level.

Penn State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Andrea Myers at [email protected] or call 814-898-6089 at least two weeks prior to the start of the program to allow sufficient time to effectively meet your access needs.

Questions? Please contact Andrea Myers at [email protected] or by calling 814-898-6089.

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Meet Our Presenters

Dr. Sherri Mason

Dr. Sherri Mason (aka “Sam”), sustainability coordinator for Penn State Behrend, is a professor of chemistry and leading researcher in freshwater plastic pollution. Dr. Mason has been featured within hundreds of mass media articles including the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Studio A1. Her work formed the basis for the Microbeads-Free Water Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2015.

Among her accolades, Dr. Mason has been awarded EPA Environmental Champion 2016, Excellence in Environmental Research by the Earth Month Network in 2017, and Heinz Award in Public Policy in 2018.

Dr. Mason earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She completed her doctorate in chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. While a professor of chemistry at SUNY Fredonia, her research group was among the first to study the prevalence and impact of plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems.

Dr. Alicyn Rhoades

Dr. Alicyn Rhoades, associate professor of engineering at Penn State Behrend, specializes in polymer thermodynamics, with active research in polymer crystallization using fast-scanning calorimetry techniques. She also has active research projects focusing on polymer composite formulation as well as materials for additive manufacturing.

Dr. Rhoades received the Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering (2006) from The University of Southern Mississippi with a graduate minor program in commercializing technology. She received her B.S. in Plastics Engineering Technology (2001) from Penn State Behrend. She is also a graduate faculty member of the Materials Science and Engineering (MatSE) department at Penn State University.