Dr. Carolina Molina


Can you say a few words about yourself?

I was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Chemistry and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Chile.

Did you choose your profession or did it choose you?

I believe the profession chose me. I was not sure what I wanted to do after high school, only that it should be something related to chemistry or that could help people in some way. When I choose the path of chemistry and science, I did not expect to have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives. However, environmental sciences were the perfect avenue for that purpose. This decision opened up numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth, and it continues to be a source of joy as I consistently learn and discover new things.

What attracted you to join LAPI?

LAPI represents the ‘state of the art’ in atmospheric chemistry research. The level of detail in the groups work and their transdisciplinary approach to tackling these challenges is truly impressive.

Can you speak about the projects you are currently working on and other ones in the past?

I mainly study atmospheric aerosols. In my past research for my undergraduate and Ph.D. studies, I looked at air pollution in Chilean cities, focusing on decontamination plans and the oxidative potential of particles. I have also explored sea spray aerosols, their chemistry composition and properties. Now, I am researching how particle acidity and oxidative potential are related.

What have been some of your biggest successes?

Helping to improve local policies through research.

You split your time between teaching and research. How do you view these two roles?

Both are fundamental. The ability to communicate and share our knowledge with scientists and society, as well as the capacity to keep learning and discovering new things.

What do you enjoy to do, outside of science and research?

I enjoy exploring and trying new foods (with the intention of cooking them later), as well as visiting coffee shops. I also knit and have been learning embroidery (though there is still much to learn). Finally, I like hiking and practicing pilates.

A free thought for the end?

Remember to celebrate small victories.