GASP: What is your major at and why did you choose it?
Riley Yager: I am currently working on my PhD in physics and I received a bachelors in civil engineering and a bachelors in physics in May 2020. I chose these degrees because I wanted to go into a field where I could have a direct impact on the world. I am a dedicated environmentalist and I want to be on the forefront of scientific discovery and innovation in the effort to make this world a more sustainable place. I chose the physics route over the engineering route partly because of my research on nanofibers, which have ample applications in sustainability, and partly because of my love for physics.
GASP: Where do you go to high school?
RY: I went to Pinson Valley High School
GASP: What do you hope to do after you graduate?
RY: I may continue my education in postdoctoral studies. I am also considering starting a company surrounding the environmental/sustainable applications of nanofiber ceramics. Eventually, I plan to settle down and become a professor in physics somewhere in eastern europe.
GASP: What is your dream job?
RY: My dream job would be to start a company that utilizes the sustainable applications of ceramic nanofibers and turns them into products that will aid in the world’s transition to becoming eco-friendly and sustainable.
RY: GASP: What do you hope to learn while interning with GASP?
RY: I hope to gain skills in project management as well as gain some knowledge in the design and technology of air quality sensors.
GASP: Why is our mission to reduce air pollution important to you?
RY: Sustainability is both my passion and my career. Any efforts made to achieve a greener world are important to me. It means a lot to be a part of an organization working to better the city that I was born and raised in.
GASP: What is your favorite food?
RY: It’s a tie between lemon pepper wings (flats only) and vegetables. My guilty pleasure is pickle chips.
GASP: What are your hobbies?
RY: I do aerial yoga, I occasionally sell my artwork, I foster cats when I can, and I enjoy volunteering. I am also a huge TV person.
GASP: Who or what are your influences?
RY: Neil Degrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, AOC, and my professor Andrei Stanishevsky. I want to also mention my mother because I couldn’t have done it without her.
GASP: What are some other fun facts about yourself?
RY: I have been to 11 european countries and I can speak some german and a good bit of german. I have watched every season of The Office at least 15 times. I enjoy kayaking, I am obsessed with cats, and I am a plant mom.
Kirsten has been with GASP from the very beginning as a founding board member, then as a part-time executive director, and now as outreach director. Kirsten hopes future generations will inherit a healthy Alabama where clean air and water are valued and protected. Email Kirsten