College Names Yelda Balkir Coordinator of New Environmental Science Program

Balkir’s experience in green chemistry and the environment will shape the development of the College’s forthcoming program in Environmental Science.

Yelda Balkir, Ph.D., a prominent researcher in green chemistry and the environment, has been named coordinator of Manhattan College’s forthcoming Environmental Science program. Her new position in the School of Science will include teaching courses as an assistant professor of chemistry.

“Dr. Yelda Balkir’s prior involvement in the development of a new environmental science program among the departments of chemistry, environmental studies, biochemistry and biology will be very helpful in the advancement of the interdisciplinary environmental science program at Manhattan College,” said Constantine Theodosiou, Ph.D., dean of the School of Science.

Balkir, a native of Istanbul and longtime resident of Pittsburgh, will plan and develop the curriculum for the B.S. and M.S. in environmental science, which is anticipated to begin in fall 2014. The new program is slated to offer an abundance of cross-disciplinary experiences and combined faculty and student research opportunities.

Formerly an assistant professor at Eckerd College, Balkir was instrumental in organizing the development of another interdisciplinary environmental science program. She also taught courses in biochemistry, organic and general chemistry, and mentored student research. A few of the research topics included Determination of Antioxidant Capacities of Natural Products, Development of Environmentally Benign Solar Cells, and Development of Heterogeneous Catalysts for Renewable Biofuel Synthesis.

In addition, Balkir spent much of her early career teaching and conducting research at the California University of Pennsylvania. She also served as a post-doctoral associate in environmental chemistry at the University of Massachusetts-Boston from 2002 to 2004.

Throughout her career, Balkir’s work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Journal of Chemistry and the Journal of Food Science and Technology. The Environmental Protection Agency and American Chemical Society also recognized her as a co-recipient of the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award.

She holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, a M.Sc. from Duquesne University, and a B.Sc. from Istanbul Technical University.

“I am excited to join Manhattan College to develop the Environmental Science program, which will help to train future environmental scientists,” Balkir added.