Notable Alumni In a nutshell, what’s the nature of your work?
Carol Silbert Schitzer '94
One of my research projects is about improving the effectiveness and efficiency of wastewater remediation of heavy metals. The work uses a “bubble column” apparatus containing water and metal ions. A compound is added to the solution to complex the metal, which then rises to the top of the column as inert bubbles are introduced at the bottom. The heavy metal contaminant can then be removed. The other project uses a technique called surface-enhanced resonance raman scattering to study copper chlorophyllin (CuChl), a derivative of chlorophyll. Applications of CuChl include use in artificial photosynthesis and as a dietary food supplement, colorant, deodorizer, and wound healer. (A paper about this second project was just accepted for the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science.) I also give talks about climate change.
What have been some defining moments of your career?
At a recent environmental symposium I spoke with another researcher about other applications for the bubble column. We’ll be collaborating now, with his research group synthesizing biodiesel (derived from waste vegetable oil) and my group purifying it. What developments in your field will have the greatest impact on the careers of students in the sciences?
The continuous development of cutting-edge technology and instrumentation, particularly having to do with lasers. What advice would you offer Skidmore students in the sciences?
Do research early and in several areas of your discipline, to gain a wide range of technical expertise and information. And take as many science courses as possible, because you really can’t predict where your career path will take you.
Carol was a chemistry major at Skidmore College. She is now a professor of environmental and physical chemistry at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. This profile originally appeared in Scope Quarterly Winter 2008.