The idea factory: Meet sustainable chemistry researcher and IBET Momentum Fellowship recipient Gaius St. Marie

Gaius St. MarieFor Gaius St. Marie (ChemE PhD candidate), a doctoral degree is not only a way to pursue his passion for science and technology, but also to serve as a role model for his community. 

“Young Black adults like myself need to see that there are opportunities for us in society,” he says. “My dream is to serve as an inspiration to any young child in an underprivileged community, to show them that any situation in life is merely a stepping-stone to future success.” 

St. Marie is one of two recipients of this year’s IBET Momentum Fellowships, along with fellow ChemE graduate student Oseremen Ebewele. 

The fellowships provide support and build a network for Indigenous and Black graduate students — two groups that are significantly underrepresented across both academia and the engineering profession. Fellowship recipients receive financial support, mentorship, training and networking opportunities to foster a robust professional community. 

St. Marie grew up in the Caribbean country of St. Lucia. In 2015, he moved to Halifax, N.S. to complete an undergraduate degree in chemistry at Saint Mary’s University, from which he graduated magna cum laude. 

At Saint Mary’s, he completed a research thesis in sustainable chemistry, supervised by Professor Christa Brosseau. The work involved experimenting with new types of bio-based materials that can serve as substrates in surface enhanced raman spectroscopy (SERS), an analytical technique that can be used to detect biomarkers of disease, among other applications. He was also able to work on a project with Alpha Chemical, a pharmaceutical and biodiesel company based in Nova Scotia. 

Pursuing a PhD in chemical engineering will help St. Marie fulfill his goal of becoming a research scientist. Read the full U of T Engineering News article.