Malia Wenny

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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Makes and modifies gas-adsorbing materials to combat climate change; teaches organic and inorganic chemistry.

I use synthetic inorganic and materials chemistry to study materials that adsorb gas molecules. Efficiently separating and storing gases has the potential to make vast environmental and economic impacts, but materials that function well under real-world conditions are still rare. For example, separating carbon dioxide from air could aid in climate change mitigation, but many materials that interact well with carbon dioxide are harmed by humidity in air. My research projects aim to both understand the adsorption process better and to modify materials for improved performance under real-world conditions. Students in my group learn how to synthesize and analyze gas-adsorbing materials, including performing X-ray diffraction and gas adsorption measurements.

Currently, I teach organic and inorganic chemistry. I am excited by the responsibility and opportunity that teaching brings, and my goal is to build students’ understanding of chemistry and its place within the broader world while supporting their development as well-rounded, confident individuals. I aim to explore a range of teaching techniques that balance student engagement and chemistry learning objectives. I also believe that an enormous portion of learning in chemistry happens in the lab and that it is important to demonstrate the scientific process and welcome students to the scientific community early in their undergraduate experience, regardless of whether they plan to continue in science.

I'm excited to incorporate X-ray and neutron experiments at national user facilities into the undergraduate research experience. Participating in these specialized experiments gives students a chance to learn new techniques and to see science outside of academia.

I'm also motivated to provide a supportive and equitable learning environment for all students. I believe that science is best done by diverse groups in which everyone feels that their perspectives are valued. I will do my best to contribute to these efforts through my own research and teaching as well as outside the Wellesley community.

When I’m not teaching or thinking about chemistry, I enjoy birding, hiking, and watching soccer (go Arsenal!).

For more information about my research lab, please visit the Wenny Group website: https://sites.google.com/wellesley.edu/the-wenny-group