Buffalo Boss Babe: Dr. Sherri A. Mason
Today's Buffalo Boss Babe is Dr. Sherri A. Mason (SAM). Dr. Mason is truly changing the world! She is am amazing Professor of Chemistry and is also the Chair of the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences at The State University of New York at Fredonia. Sam is currently working on the Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Survey. She is studying plastic pollution as well as micro plastics in the great lakes. Sam's intelligence and passion for this project as well as some intense truths about the problem has got her some national attention. Sam was features on TedxThunderbay as well as many other global institutions and publications. I should also mention that this past summer SAM swam across Lake Chautauqua and across LAKE ERIE! You can watch her talk here and learn more about her important work! We chatted with Sam about life and so much more!
What made you start or brought you to where you are today? Tell us your story and what makes you a Buffalo Boss Babe.
Wow...this is a big question and could take a while to respond to fully. I became an environmentalist when I was watching the Green Hair episode of Diff'rent Strokes. I was probably only around 10 years old, but I remembered thinking that nothing that we do as a species should be affecting the planet that dramatically. I have been focused on understanding the environment and working to protect it ever since.
Most recently, I was sailing the Great Lakes for the first time back in 2011 when I had a simple question pop into my mind: With all we know about plastic pollution in the oceans, what about the Great Lakes? Is there plastic in the Great Lakes? It was supposed to be a fun little side project, but I found that I had stumbled into an area of scientific research that very few people were working on and which I found insanely interesting. It lead to a plethora of questions and research projects to work on, so I scraped everything else and decided to focus on freshwater plastic pollution. Because it is a fairly new research area, there are few people that work on freshwater and I happened to be situated on the largest freshwater system in the world. We haven't gotten a lot of research money, but we have made very good use of the funding we have received to-date, including doing studies in all 5 Great Lakes, 29 of its major tributaries, 20 species of fish and, most recently, drinking water, sea salt and beer.
Beyond the basic research, it has opened my world immensely: I have met incredible people, who I admired immensely, sailed (and swam in) all 5 of the Great Lakes and traveled to Sweden, Australia, Japan, France, and Thailand.
Who are your favorite people to follow?
Intelligent, engaged people who are changing the world: Annie Leonard, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Marcus Eriksen, Maude Barlow, Sylvia Earle
What are your favorite things to do in the area (Buffalo and greater WNY)?
Anything to do with the water! Swimming, beach clean-ups, sailing...I also enjoy Canalside, live Theatre at Shea's and concerts at ArtPark,.
Tell me about your favorite collaborations or a dream collaboration?
My collaboration with 5 Gyres was exciting from the start but considering how it changed my life I would say it was a 'Dream Come True' collaboration.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world who would it be?
Its cliche but the Dalai Lama.
What are your hopes, dreams, goals? Big or Small.
I want to change our society to be truly sustainable. Its a big goal, and I know that at best I will only be one small part of the evolution, but ultimately I want to look back at my life and think I did more good than harm. Along the way, I want to love, laugh, experience and appreciate all that this world holds.
Tell us about your family a bit ( 2 or 4 legged ) ?
I am a single mom to an amazing 17-year old daughter, as well as a small, furry ball of love named teddy (commonly referred to as a dog) and a stealthy, independent, bomb-ass babe named Noodles (commonly referred to as a cat). A little over a year ago I (finally!) met the love of my life, my true soulmate, named Jeff, whom I am happy to say I will marry next summer on our 2 year of meeting anniversary.
Feel Good Five :)
Super Power: Flying
Animal: All of them :-)
Season of the year: Fall
Sam is truly an inspiration and proof that small acts can change the world. Her very important work is unique and inspiring and what a true Buffalo Boss Babe stands for! Each decision we make effects the greater issues in one way or another. I hope this feature raises awareness about plastic pollution and hopefully makes you think about your own plastic consumption and you do your part to reduce it! Whatever your cause is go out and change the world for the better!
Until next time babes!
Buffalo Boss Babes is a woman run blog series featuring woman in and around the city of Buffalo N.Y.
If you know someone doing amazing things for our community, past and present, young and old..... send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Here's to strong woman! May we know them. May we be them