Dr. Yvonne Choo completed her BSc (Hons) Pure Chemistry from Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2014 where she took on a final year project on photoluminescent poly(azomethine) esters under the guidance of Dr Oo Chuan Wei. She was fascinated by photoactive polymers the first time she saw them glow under UV lights. It was her love for glowing polymers and her childhood dream of creating a photosynthesis machine that led her to pursue a Ph.D. research project that is an amalgamation of the two. In November 2018, she graduated with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Newcastle University, UK for her research in the design and synthesis of functionalised polyethers and polyesters under the supervision of Prof. Andrew C. Benniston. Her research involved the making of new photoactive polymeric materials to be used in energy applications (e.g. photocatalytic splitting of water in Artificial Photosynthesis).
Yvonne is a STEM ambassador and a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. She is a science communication enthusiast and has been actively involved in various public engagement/outreach events both in Malaysia and in the UK since 2010. Some of which include: the Malaysian Chemistry Carnival (K2M), Soapbox Science, The Big Ideas Event and Maker Faire. Her passion for science communication led her to win her first international competition – 1st Prize in the IUPAC International Video and Essay Competition on “A World without Polymers” in 2011. As a Ph.D. student, she has been awarded several posters and oral presentation prizes in the area of sustainable energy and fuels, the Joyce Lockhart Prize and the Gold Award (Roscoe Medal) for Physical Science (Chemistry) Category in the prestigious STEM for Britain 2017. She also runs a blog (yvonnechoo.tumblr.com) about her journey of becoming a scientist where she documented her STEM involvements in detail.