Christopher Blaszczak-Boxe


Dr. Christopher Blaszczak-Boxe was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and lived there during his early childhood; a large fraction of his life he lived on the US East Coast. In 1999, he earned a BS in Chemistry (and Math Minor) from Morehouse College and met retired NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Director for Engineering and Science, Dr. James King, Jr. (BS in Chemistry and Math Minor, Morehouse College, 1953; MS in Chemistry, 1955 and Ph.D. in Chemical Physics, 1958, Caltech). Dr. King not only taught him chemistry but amplified Dr. Blasazczak-Boxe's already established research as a NASA Ronald E. McNair Scholar, through complementary NASA-funded investigations aimed at elucidating physicochemical processes governing the formation of life forming molecules on interstellar dust grains. Dr. King undoubtedly changed the course of Dr. Blaszczak-Boxe's professional career and supported him to attend graduate school at Caltech.

At Caltech, Dr. Blaszczak-Boxe earned Master’s degrees in Planetary Science and Environmental Science and Engineering, in 2001 and 2002, respectively; thereafter, he attained a Ph.D. in Environmental Science & Engineering from Caltech in 2005. He was trained under modeling and experimental experts, correspondingly, Dr. Yuk Yung (Professor of Planetary Science) and Dr. Michael Hoffmann (John S. and Sherry Chen Professor of Environmental Science). After graduating from Caltech, he was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA’s JPL until 2008, where he conducted laboratory and computer simulations of surface chemistry on Earth to determine how it relates to environmental occurrences, such as climate change. He then spent several years as a research scientist in JPL’s Earth and Space Science Division.

Thereafter, Dr. Blaszczak-Boxe joined the City University of New York (CUNY) academic system. He matriculated through CUNY as an Associate Professor in the Graduate Center of CUNY’s Earth and Environmental Science and Chemistry Divisions, as well as an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Chemistry and Deputy Chair of Medgar Evers College’s Chemistry and Environmental Science Department. Presently, he is an Associate Research Professor at Penn State University’s (PSU) Department of Geosciences, an Associate at their Earth and Environmental Science Institute and Institute of Computational and Data Sciences, and Co-Director of PSU EnvironMentors.

Dr. Christopher Blaszczak-Boxe is a lifelong educator that uses numerical-modeling platforms to assess the atmospheric evolution of planets on various timescales. For Earth, he focuses on air quality modeling. On the experimental front, he participates in field and laboratory studies that assess the abundance of potentially toxic substances in indoor/outdoor environments and their potential impacts on human health. The majority of his fieldwork takes place in New York and Pennsylvania. He is also actively involved in community-based research education initiatives that engage K-12, college, graduate school students, and external stakeholders in STEM-related disciplines and careers.