Matt Villante ’20 Presents Talk on Climate Technology and Science
Washington and Lee University welcomes Matt Villante ’20 back to campus to deliver a talk on the climate technology and science sector on Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Science Center, room A214. Villante’s talk is sponsored by the Department of Earth and Environmental Geoscience.
Villante, a reservoir modeler at Carbfix in Kópavogur, Iceland, will discuss his post-graduation research, the introduction of carbon mineralization as a solution for sequestering carbon dioxide (CO2) , the daily operations of Carbfix, as well as provide insight into careers in the climate technology and science field.
“The future is ours to make, and I know with more students pursuing a geoscience education, we will be able to craft a future that will be sustainable for generations to come,” Villante said. “W&L has a fantastic geoscience program, and I’m excited to share my experience with current students.”
Villante earned his bachelor’s degree in geology and Chinese at W&L and went on to receive a master’s degree in sustainable energy science with a geothermal specialization at Reykjavik University in Iceland. While pursuing his master’s degree, Villante took courses in many areas of the renewable industry, from energy finance and law to geothermal reservoir engineering, and had the opportunity to learn from experts in the field to better understand the challenges and opportunities for renewable energy.
Villante’s passion and experience led him to Carbfix, where he models CO2 mineralization operations, conducts fieldwork and supports the development of projects outside of Iceland. He describes his work as deeply intertwined with the global fight against climate change, and he wants to show people there is hope if we can adapt and make use of the earth around us.
A career in geoscience has been a long time in the making for Villante. “I first realized I was a geoscientist when I found myself rearranging my pack and stuffing gear into my pockets, so I had more room for rocks in my bag while hiking,” he said. “Then I had a second awakening seeing a volcano erupt in person.”
A lifelong lover of the outdoors, Villante exchanged the sandy beaches of his home state of Florida for the mountainous landscape of the Shenandoah Valley when he arrived in Lexington for his first year at W&L. While wandering through the university’s academic fair, Villante met professor David Harbor, who convinced him to sign up for his geology class with the promise of spending two days outside every week. “The excitement that built before getting into the van with rock hammers, neon vests, maps and compasses to spend our day exploring was something I immediately grew to love,” Villante said. “The approachability and excitement for geology I witnessed proved that I was in the right place.”
Villante’s return to W&L will also include a presentation in professor Lisa Greer’s Global Climate Change course, giving students the chance to learn more about career opportunities in geoscience and the future of the field.