Jessica Harms

Jessica Harms

Jessica Harms
Grand Challenge: Develop Carbon Sequestration Methods
Major: Chemical Engineering
City Campus (Lincoln)
Hometown: Bellevue, NE

About Jessica
I applied to be a Grand Challenge Scholar because I have always felt a responsibility to slow climate change, and I know that the program will help give me the necessary skills to make a difference. In the 21st century one of the most pressing issues we face is climate change. Earth’s average temperature is increasing at a dangerously fast rate and is affecting our planet in detrimental ways; glaciers are shrinking, heat waves are becoming more intense, and ecosystems are being destroyed. As the Greenhouse Effect shows, certain greenhouse gases are trapping the sun’s radiation and heat, causing climate change. This issue is arguably the most serious issue facing our species. The consequences of pumping carbon into our atmosphere are here and they will affect our children, and our children’s children. I decided to become a Chemical Engineer so that I could gain the knowledge to stop greenhouse gases from being created. I knew that if I worked at chemical plants, I could help develop methods to stop the release of carbon dioxide into the environment.

In college I became heavily involved in the field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology involves using my chemical engineering knowledge to genetically engineer bacteria to stop the production of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane through different applications. This prospect excites me and brings me hope as scientists all over the world are continually unveiling new synthetic pathways to eliminate the production of carbon dioxide by forcing bacteria to work for us. I wish to be a part of the change, and that is why I have dedicated a large portion of my college career to gaining the skills to stop the production of greenhouse gases using synthetic biology. The Grand Challenge Scholar program will help provide me with the structure and resources to gain the skills I need to continue to solve this problem after college.