Scientist at Work: Interview with Dr. Heriberto Cabezas

Dr. Heriberto Cabezas is currently the Senior Science Advisor to the Sustainable Technology Division in EPA’s National Risk Management Research Lab, where he works to advance the scientific understanding, development, and application of science and technologies to address a variety of areas related to sustainability. He was formerly an Acting Director of the Division, and Chief of the Sustainable Environments Branch.

When did you first know you wanted to pursue science?

I think I must have been five or six. For some unknown reason, I was playing with the electricity in my house. Of course as a six year-old I was lucky to survive. I did hook up a number of things and the lights went out in my house. I had to fix it quietly so my parents wouldn’t notice. The second time, I redid my rig and the lights didn’t go out. I was always interested in science.

How does your science matter?

My work focuses on preventing environmental problems from happening in the first place. I mostly work on designing processes that have the smallest environmental footprint.

More recently, I have been working on sustainability. We have to ask ourselves, “How can we successfully manage the environment so that we avoid environmental problems in the long term?” The kinds of things that my coworkers and I do matter because it’s the best way to protect the environment and human health: being proactive. We’re not trying to fix a problem after it has already occurred, but trying to see if we can prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. I think that is important.  Click here to read the whole interview.

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