Soyoung is a Ph.D. candidate studying inorganic chemistry at MIT. She obtained her B.S. and M.S. in chemistry and analytical chemistry from Seoul National University in South Korea. Her research aims to answer fundamental chemical questions for the selective transformation of natural gas to other useful chemicals. Because of the high cost of transportation and storage of natural gas, spontaneously generated natural gas in remote oil fields is often flared away, wasting precious non-renewable resources and needlessly generating carbon dioxide. The current method for transforming methane, the chief constituent of natural gas, requires very high temperatures and heavy infrastructure. However, certain metal salts are known to activate the inert carbon-hydrogen bonds of methane under milder conditions that may be amenable to broader implementation. Through her research, Soyoung is trying to understand the fundamentals of this reactivity as well as consider the design of the overall system (solvent, materials, etc.) for practical applications.
Outside of research, Soyoung likes to spend time talking to friends, biking around, or reading. She is an active member of the MIT Graduate Christian Fellowship, and believes humans have an important role as stewards for the environment. She also occasionally participates in activities hosted by the MIT Waste Alliance and e4Dev. She is also enthusiastic about properly taking care of leftover food and recyclable waste.