Frances Zengotita

Degrees: Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Bachelor of Arts in English

College/School: School of Integrated Science and Humanity, College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Frances Zengotita always dreamed of being a scientist. Her father inspired this love. After he became ill and passed away when she was in 8th grade that love went away. As much as she wanted to honor her father and her childhood dream, studying science became a painful reminder of him.  

At FIU, Frances decided to study English. During her second semester, she read Silent Spring — a groundbreaking novel by Rachel Carson that brought attention to the harmful effects of pesticides on humans and the environment. It reignited her passion for science. Frances realized she wanted to promote environmental awareness and conduct environmental chemistry research. She decided to pursue chemistry as a second major.

Frances was a Department of Energy Fellow, a program that supports the largest environmental cleanup challenge in the world – working towards safe disposal of the nation's legacy radioactive waste. Her research focused on tracking the transport of radioactive waste, in order to update risk assessment models and prevent the release of harmful nuclear waste into the environment.

She has two peer-reviewed publications, including a publication in Chemosphere, in which she’s listed as the first author. A McNair scholar, Frances has presented her research at national conferences. She’s also received more than 12 honors or awards, including the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the American Chemical Society Scholars Program.  

After graduation, Frances will pursue her Ph.D. in Chemistry.  

By Nathalie Medina
Junior Account Manager
College of Arts, Sciences & Education