A stand-out student at Iona, Michelle Muzzio ’15 is now a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University. Her research bridges the gap between nanoscience, catalysts, and green chemistry to create a more sustainable process for making libraries of chemicals. While at Brown, Michelle has received a Brown Presidential Fellowship, as well as a highly selective NSF grad research fellowship. Michelle attributes being awarded these opportunities partially because of the extensive experience she had in scientific research from her undergraduate studies with chemistry, and Board of Trustees Endowed Professor, Dr. Sunghee Lee, Ph.D.
Although Michelle loves performing research, she is very passionate about teaching and science communication. “At Brown, I received a lot of training in teaching from the Sheridan Center, and am currently the head of graduate student teaching consultants there,” says Michelle. She also developed a course called “Tiny Solutions for Big Problems: Introduction to Nanotechnology” which she is working to introduce in the classroom to high school students.
As a student at Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers, N.Y., while searching for colleges, Michelle was excited to find such a great fit in what a challenging and supportive environment, and delighted to find it so close s well as the proximity of Iona to home. She graduated from. Michelle graduated valedictorian of her class from the Iona College Honors Program and double majored in ACS Chemistry and English. “Such an experience allowed me to really learn about science, but also about how to communicate science effectively to anyone willing to listen,” says Michelle. She achieved a lot academically, and she is most grateful for the mentorship and teaching she received from her professors of chemistry and English at Iona. Michelle is a member of Brown’s Chemical diversity and Inclusions Action Committee and actively participates in the #WomenInStem Twitter campaign. She hopes to “try to bring a voice to inequalities in the STEM community as well as provide mentorship to women applying to graduate school and fellowships.”
When asked what advice she would give prospective students, Michelle says “Don’t be afraid to try something different. Often, your path is something you never could have dreamed of, which is the case for me. I never dreamed of falling in love with chemistry before entering Iona, but I did, and now it has become such a big part of my life and my way to give back to the world.”