Female Scientists at the Forefront of Revolutionary Solutions for a Healthier Planet

Did you know that despite making up about half of the workforce overall, only about a quarter of workers in science, technology, engineering and math fields (otherwise known as STEM) are women?

When it comes to the women at REGENESIS® - that’s not the case! Led by Dr. Kristen Thoreson who oversees the chemical research and product development program, the Southern California team of female scientists is at the forefront of revolutionary research, developing and implementing smarter and more cost-effective technology-based remediation solutions for a healthier, happier planet.

Taking on the challenge of hazardous waste in order to rescue our planet’s most precious natural resources, the global leading experts at REGENESIS are interested in sharing their unique perspectives on the complex environmental problems of the 21stcentury and more.

I had the honor of Interviewing Dr. Thoreson.  

Faten Abdallah: What encouraged you to go into the science field?
KT: I was inspired by my high school chemistry teacher who made the subject fun, even for those students that didn’t necessarily understand all of the concepts. She had a special skill for showing how science is involved in daily life and how everything involves chemistry in some form or another. In class, we performed numerous fun and interactive experiments such as making ice cream and peanut brittle, which I think was important for making the subject relatable to all students. Most importantly for me, my teacher encouraged me to pursue my love of science and provided an environment that made it acceptable to be good at it.

I was also lucky to have both my parents involved in the sciences. My mother is a pharmacist and used to have me do experiments in our kitchen with simple household items. My father, a physical therapist, was also very supportive of my interests.

FA: How can we get more females to enjoy science and to major in fields of science?
KT: Exposure and role models! During my time in grad school at the University of Minnesota, I was involved with the Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) group that put on “Cool Chemistry” day camps for middle school girls. These camps created a safe environment for the girls to participate in experiments and to be scientists. Our goal was to remove any barriers created by gender norms or peer influences so that the participants could freely explore subjects that they may be interested in. By creating safe environments like WISE, we empower young women to pursue their goals and also provide role models to help the girls understand what their path may look like. In addition, it’s important for young boys to see women in these roles so that it’s no longer such a foreign idea for them to see female scientists leading discoveries.

FA: How does science help the earth?
KT: How does it not? We need a scientific understanding of how our actions influence the world around us. Driving cars, buying new gadgets, disposing of our garbage– all of these things have a reaction and affect our resources. Scientific monitoring and analysis of the resulting changes help us to understand the reactions and thereby develop strategies to address their affects.

REGENESIS® can help solve some of these issues because the products that we develop have the ability to overcome some of these undeniable problems. Using science to develop new solutions is key to our continued success.

FA: What do you hope to do with your work/inventions/discoveries?
KT: The ultimate goal is to clean up our groundwater. Eventually water is going to be the primary resource that everyone is paying attention to. Figuring out the best way to clean up water and to prevent it from becoming contaminated is crucial to long-term global health. Water is a sacred resource that we must conserve and preserve.

Dr. Thoreson is the the manager of research and development at REGENESIS®, a global environmental remediation company leading in the research, development, and commercialization of technology-based solutions designed to restore contaminated soil and groundwater. In addition, she actively presents at industry conferences and has served on panel sessions, platforms, and has presented in poster sessions. Dr. Thoreson has also published papers and articles on environmental topics as they relate to soil and groundwater remediation solutions and innovations. Additionally, she enjoys meeting with clients and speaking with people outside of their industry about their preservation of their  resources because it is a topic that everyone can appreciate. For more information, visit www.regenesis.com, like them on Facebook and follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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