Jill Downey

Jill Downey

Master's Student, Department of Chemistry

“People might be left out, if it wasn’t for scholarships”

Jill Downey, a master’s student in environmental chemistry, wants to make your home safer.

“When people hear ‘environmental chemistry,’ they think of the outdoors and pollution,” she says, “but pollutants can also get indoors and affect our air quality. In particular, I’m looking at ozone and how it reacts with surfaces and things that accumulate on indoor surfaces, like oils.”

Ozone, it turns out, can react with other molecules and trigger the release of volatile organic carbons—substances that can affect our health. Downey hopes her work will help keep Canadians safe by teasing out the health impact of different types of materials in the home, from glass to metal to fabric.

Downey grew up in Rothesay, New Brunswick, and earned her bachelor of science at Mount Allison University. “Without this fellowship, I wouldn’t be able to go to U of T,” she says. “And U of T has the best environmental chemistry program in Canada.”

“People might be left out, if it wasn’t for scholarships,” she says. “Scholarships give students opportunities to go to these big expensive cities and study amazing things.”