Chelvanaya B. Gabriel works with faculty and students to facilitate the design and set-up of laboratory teaching and research projects, and occasionally serves as advisor for students' independent study projects. She helped to revive the annual Hampshire College Alternative Health Fair and co-designed the popular Frog Fest in 2004, a silent auction to raise funds for the Indian Ocean Tsunami victims. She is also a member of the campus Safety Steering Committee and served as chair of the Staff Advocacy Committee.
Born in the Pacific Northwest, Chelvanaya always had a passionate interest in the natural sciences, especially as they relate to personal health and well-being. Homeschooled through high school, and often surrounded by academia, she developed a deep interest in the pursuit and sharing of knowledge.
At the age of 17, Chelvanaya visited Hanoi, Vietnam with her family and taught English to college administrators for the Ford Foundation; during her college years she taught English at Hohai University in Nanjing, China. She was one of the first United Negro College Fund/Merck Undergraduate Research Fellows. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a minor in Asian studies, Chelvanaya worked as a research chemist at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
Later Chelvanaya attended the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, where she participated in student-run migrant farmworker's clinics and helped establish a Complementary and Alternative Medicine group as well as smoking cessation and AIDS awareness programs. She also worked as a night manager for the Covenant Shelter in New London, CT and participated in community theatre, mostly backstage. Returning to the Pioneer Valley, Chelvanaya worked as a research assistant at a small chemical engineering company in Amherst, MA before joining the School of Natural Science staff at Hampshire.
Chelvanaya continues to find ways to share knowledge and build positive communities. Her science education workshop Lotions and Potions has been a highly successful component of the Hampshire College Day in the Lab event. Mindful Beauty is in Your Hands, her first published book, is available on Amazon.com. It was inspired by the Lotions and Potions workshop and her desire to share her enjoyment of chemistry, the pursuit of knowledge, and healthy living.