Mary Grace Stilley

News & Events

Mary Grace Stilley

Posted on August 22, 2022

Wilmington, NC

B.A., Environment & Sustainability (EDE), with a minor in Sociology, UNCG (2022) 

Why the Environment & Sustainability Program? Mary Grace uses the words “interdisciplinary,” “multi-dimensional,” and “all-encompassing” when she describes the E&S Program. 

Favorite aspects of the Program? Mary Grace’s favorite classes were Marine Conservation with Ann Somers and Glocal Agriculture with Dr. Chitiyo. She says, “both classes made me very comfortable with the subject matter [biology] to where it was easily understandable. These classes taught me not to close myself off to subjects that intimidated me.”

What are they doing now? Mary Grace is currently an intern at the Plastic Ocean Project, where she works in the lab searching for and identifying microplastics in environmental samples. They further analyze the plastic samples under a microscope, which scans particles to determine the polymer composition of the plastic. The data generated is used to decipher how different plastics break down in the environment. She says, “Plastics were the first environmental issue that grabbed my attention. The process of breaking apart and not down is an enormous problem that may have media attention but does not have public understanding.” Mary Grace is passionate about the work she is doing and the research she is contributing to.