Chemistry Welcomes Chair

This summer Cherie Yestrebsky, Ph.D., was named the chair of the UCF Chemistry Department.

Dr. Yestrebsky has been serving as interim chair of the department since November of 2014, prior to her long-term appointment in June 2016.

Before coming to UCF, Dr. Yestrebsky earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of South Florida.  She came to UCF as a National Science Foundation Research Fellow in chemistry, was hired as an assistant professor, and has continued her work at UCF for twenty years.

Dr. Yestrebsky’s passion for her work is driven by finding solutions to environmental problems faced by society. Her work focuses on environmental remediation of toxic materials and waste minimization for industrial processes. “We must strive to keep our natural resources safe for use,” said Dr. Yestrebsky. “We all need safe drinking water and an environment we can enjoy without fear of anthropogenic contaminants and toxins.”

The products of her research have won prestigious awards including Federal Laboratory Consortium Invention and Commercialization of the Year, Induction into the NASA Space Technology Hall of Fame, Intel Environmental Laureate for the Tech Museum of Innovation, and others. Her research has resulted in many patents, publications and research presentations.

Dr. Yestrebsky says her interest in STEM fields was supported and encouraged by her family from childhood. Her accessible and caring professors, while pursuing her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of Central Florida, were also instrumental in her successful career path.

As chair, Dr. Yestrebsky looks forward to continuing the growth of the Chemistry Department’s doctoral and research programs while providing an outstanding undergraduate education in chemistry and forensic science. Her work will focus on improved collaborations, bringing the best students, postdoctoral associates, and faculty to the department, supporting chemistry faculty in proposal writing and submissions, research and teaching.

“We are in an exciting time in university-level education with a great deal of available research focused on improving teaching in STEM disciplines,” explained Dr. Yestrebsky. “I am leading our department through an evaluation of our degree programs to insure we are providing the best possible education for our students at all levels.”

Dr. Yestrebsky explained that growth of the UCF Chemistry Department requires significant university support through providing the facilities, space, and graduate student support comparable to other aspirational research universities. “Working as a team, I have no doubt we can achieve our goals.”

The UCF College of Sciences and UCF Chemistry Department are excited to welcome Dr. Yestrebsky as permanent chair and leader of the department.

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