Unity, Maine – February, 2011 –  A Unity College Professor has been recognized for her volunteer efforts to aid the developing world.

Chemists Without Borders, a global network of individuals who are helping to alleviate problems in the third world, has recognized the work of Unity College Professor of Geochemistry Lois Ongley.

“Lois brings broad knowledge and expertise, not just in technical and scientific areas, but also in the development of an organization like ours,” noted Bego Gerber, President and Co-Founder of Chemists Without Borders.  “She is a major player in both our arsenic remediation and green chemistry education efforts.  Her passion for teaching and for making a difference has taken her half way around and world and back on our behalf.”

Steve Chambreau, Vice President at Chemists Without Borders, described Ongley as a transformative figure. “The dedication exhibited by Lois inspires not only our internal staff, but her passion encourages our members, throughout the world, to help solve humanitarian problems,” Chambreau stated.

In the Spring of 2011, Ongley and Unity College student Timothy Godaire ’12 travelled to Boron, California, located in the Mojave Desert, to participate in an arsenic field event. A community science event was designed to test the capabilities of low tech arsenic analytical equipment, and to validate the performance of arsenic remediation technologies.

Ongley and Godaire joined Chambreau and Dr. Andrew Guenthner, both researchers with the U.S. Air Force, for several events.  One event held at Cerro Coso Community College involved working with sixteen college students to do initial testing on arsenic analytical equipment.  They also held an arsenic field event in Boron on International Water Day.  The low cost filter that Ongley and Godaire help to test will be widely distributed in Bangladesh and elsewhere across the world.

“This is an ongoing project for Chemists Without Borders,” noted Ongley.  “We are working to mitigate the problem of arsenic contamination of drinking water, especially in Bangladesh.”

This ties in with her research on arsenic contaminated drinking water supplies and ways to assess and mitigate such contamination.

“Chemists Without Borders is a young organization that is mobilizing chemists and others to respond to humanitarian crisis that have technological solutions,” Ongley explained.  She has served as Secretary for Chemists Without Borders.  Her service included a trip to the University of Bangladesh to help initiate the development of an environmental science major.

About Unity College

Unity College is a small private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education which emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible   citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.

In 2011, Unity College was named to the top 30 of the Washington Monthly college rankings, and was one of eighteen U.S. colleges and universities named to The Princeton Review’s 2010 Green Rating Honor Roll.

About Chemists Without Borders

With over 450 members across 30 countries, Chemists Without Borders solves humanitarian problems by mobilizing the resources and expertise of the global chemistry community and its networks.  We currently have projects involving green chemistry education and arsenic remediation in drinking water, and are planning other initiatives. For more information about Chemists Without Borders, visit www.chemistswithoutborders.org.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012