Christopher Clark Receives 21st Century Leader's Award from UMass
Friday, May 8, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Congratulations to our graduating senior Christopher Clark for receiving the 21st Century Leader's Award from the university!
View his bio from the award below:
Christopher Clark of Westfield, Massachusetts, a Commonwealth Honors College student, earned degrees in environmental science and in German and Scandinavian Studies with a concentration in STEM-German.
When he joined the Timme-Laragy Lab as a sophomore, Clark couldn’t know that his work would significantly impact his home and family. In his research, Clark realized that the toxic chemicals he studied—PFAS—were the same that had contaminated his hometown’s water. In response, Clark joined Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves (WRAFT) to support PFAS testing, research, and remediation. He initiated collaborations with UMass scientists, who submitted several multi-million-dollar grant applications to address PFAS exposure. In addition, his lobbying with WRAFT pushed the commonwealth to allocate over $20 million in assistance to PFAS-contaminated communities and establish stricter PFAS standards.
Clark skillfully balanced his advocacy work with a full academic and campus life, studying in Germany, co-authoring two published papers, and writing a thesis on PFAS toxicity. He was also a STEM Ambassadors mentor, supporting students from traditionally marginalized communities, and served as the Student Government Association’s chief of staff and undersecretary of sustainability. Thanks to his scholarship and his mentorship, Clark won several prestigious awards, including the US Department of State’s Gilman Scholarship.
Next fall, Clark will continue his work addressing the remediation and regulation of toxic contamination as an environmental health sciences master’s student at the University of Michigan and will eventually pursue a doctorate in the field.