Dr. Kathleen A. Carrado

    Kathleen CarradoApril, 2014:

    Members of the Chicago Section's Women Chemist Committee (WCC) are developing outreach plans for Chicago area section members and the community. These plans include a column in the Chicago Bulletin covering topics such as networking, career development, and vignettes of women in chemistry. This month's topic is one of our own Chicago Section members, Kathleen Carrado, as "interviewed" by Cherlyn Bradley...

    I asked Dr. Kathleen A. Carrado to give our readers some information on what led her to a career in science, and particularly, chemistry; about the type of work she does; and, of course, her dedication to writing the "ChemShorts for Kids" feature for the Chemical Bulletin

    Do you remember the first time that you poured liquid nitrogen from a dewar into a vessel to cool a reaction down? Some of you may have been able to experiment with liquid nitrogen as a child, or perhaps in a high school chemistry experiment. For Dr. Carrado, the first experience did not occur until helping an upper classman with a research project during college. While up to that point she had been interested in science and was in fact enrolled as a geology major, the hands-on immediacy of control over a reaction did not occur until that moment. From that point on, she was hooked.

    Katie went on to receive a B.S. in Chemistry in 1982 from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1986 from the University of Connecticut, where she performed research on photochemical, photocatalytic, and catalytic reactions using zeolite and clay minerals. This was followed by research using pillared clays as catalysts of simulated coalification reactions during a post-doctoral appointment at Argonne National Laboratory from 1987-1989. This work probed the reactivity of model lignin molecules by MS and NMR techniques. Katie was hired as permanent staff to the Chemistry Division in 1989 and she has remained at Argonne ever since. Her field of research involves new catalytic materials based on clays and layered double hydroxides, the materials chemistry of inorganic sol-gels including silicates, clay synthesis, surface science and chemistry, polymer-clay nanocomposites as secondary battery polyelectrolytes and as membranes in fuel cells, silicates as templates for designer carbon materials, and enzyme encapsulation. These projects make use of state-of-the-art experimental techniques available at Argonne including neutron scattering, X-ray scattering, and electron microscopy. In addition, NMR techniques have proven of immense help towards mechanistic understanding of layered silicate catalyst formation. The applications of most immediate interest involve efficient catalytic membranes in fuel cell technology as well as the conversion of low-quality hydrocarbon feedstocks to high-quality transportation fuels.

    All of these studies have contributed to a fruitful record of publication for Dr. Carrado that includes 65 papers and book chapters, 3 patents, and 2 books (as co-editor). In addition to the typical technical meeting presentations, she has been also invited to present numerous lectures at universities, industries, Gordon Research Conferences, a Royal Society of Chemistry Conference, and international conferences held in Belgium and Spain. 

    Katie has devoted several years of service to the Fuel Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. She has held numerous offices on their executive committee starting as the 1997 Program Chair, went through the progression of Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair from 1998-2000, served a term as a Director (2000-2003), and became an ACS Councilor as of 2004. She was also a Councilor for the Clay Minerals Society (2001-2003) and served as an associate editor for their journal (Clays & Clay Minerals) from 1996-98. 

    Public outreach activities regarding science education are also a passion for Katie. She has been active in the ACS as Chair of the Elementary Education Committee (EEC) of the Chicago Section from 1993-2000, having been a member of this committee since its inception in 1990. It is in this latter role that Katie became involved with writing and editing the "ChemShorts for Kids" column for the Chicago Bulletin. Well over 100 columns have been published since 1992 and are available on the Section's website. A retrospective was given to an ACS Chicago Section Topical Group Discussion in June 2000 that detailed some of the activities, their history and development. Furthermore, she has an article published in the Journal of Chemical Education regarding an activity with the periodic table that she presents at the elementary school level.