Say hello to My Green Lab Ambassador and PhD Candidate Martha Gulman! Originally from Ukraine and living in Ireland, Martha is a motivated and ambitious graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Single Honors Chemistry from Maynooth University, and she's currently undertaking her PhD program in Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin.
Martha is passionate about environmental issues and the development of novel initiatives towards tackling climate change. She is also an advocate for the My Green Lab Ambassador Program.
"This program is excellent for anyone who works in the lab. It was incredibly accessible, and does not take away from your research! It introduces you to concepts of sustainability in the lab and teaches you how to become more mindful in your lab practices. It is very important that we take these vital steps to ensure our community becomes more environmentally conscious," says Gulman.
Learn more about Martha and her sustainability journey below.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Originally from Ivano-Frankivsk Ukraine, I moved to Ireland at the age of 11. My upbringing instilled a deep curiosity to learn and discover, with parents who continuously supported and cherished that curiosity. Throughout my school years, I wasn't always interested in technical science subjects, opting out for time in nature instead. Coming to university, and serendipitous enrollment in a general science degree at Maynooth University provided an opportunity for a new-found interest in science to grow, especially chemistry. My fascination with chemistry, its endless creative possibilities, captivating colors, and thrilling theory lives strong within me. So much so that currently I am in the last few months of my PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at Trinity College Dublin, researching photoluminescent materials for new generation electronics. Environmentalism was something I was always passionate about, and I have fueled increasing efforts to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle, as well as campaigning for and educating on sustainable practices in labs. I recently co-authored a Trinity Green Lab Guide, a guide aiding researchers to make their lab practices and lab spaces more sustainable.
What drives you to be more sustainable in the laboratory?
Observing how needlessly wasteful lab practices can be has pushed me to campaign publicly for greener and more sustainable initiatives to be adapted by the research community. High quality research can be easily carried out whilst also reducing waste, energy usage, and water consumption.
What is the most interesting thing you learned while becoming a My Green Lab Ambassador?
How sustainable practices can often save money as well as reduce the overall carbon footprint of the lab. Researchers are told that implementation of sustainable initiatives will be a cumbersome, time consuming, and costly process requiring new equipment and a radical rethinking of lab practices. But in truth, sustainable practices can actually be the more cost effective, time-saving, and energy-saving alternatives to outdated practices. Often, sustainable practices are implemented with ease, and minimal disruption to research activities.
How has the My Green Lab Ambassador Program enriched your sustainability journey?
The My Green Lab Ambassador Program has introduced a whole new international community of like-minded researchers, all striving towards the same goals. This allows for networking, and sharing of ideas and resources.
What are your 2021 sustainability goals?
To continue campaigning for sustainability practices to be brought into all labs, and continue to educate researchers on these practices.