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10 Things I Can't Live Without

Written by Amelia Jeffers

Photography by Leslie Fox


In an organization full of creative and motivated problem-solvers, Dr. Amy Heintz is considered the cream of the crop. With 22 issued U.S. patents and more than 15 patents pending, the energetic and resourceful scientist was named (in 2018) the first Technical Fellow at Columbus-headquartered, world-renowned research nonprofit Battelle. For nearly 100 years, Battelle has led groundbreaking science and technology as the world’s largest independent research and development organization with a focus on giving back to the community. Launched in the Great Depression as the Battelle Memorial Institute and endowed with a $3.75M bequest from the estates of Gordon Battelle and his mother, Annie, Battelle and the research conducted by its scientists have impacted nearly every aspect of life as we know it today. In recent weeks, Dr. Heintz’s peers at Battelle have made international news once again with the development of a Critical Care Decontamination System (CCDS) capable of decontaminating up to 80,000 N95 respirator masks each day - a game-changer for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. For more information about Dr. Heintz and the other innovative scientists at Battelle, visit

1. A warm blanket. Wrapping in a blanket provides a sense of protection and touches on a foundational love that makes us human. When I was a child, it was a little yellow blanket, now it is a fuzzy fleece blanket for awake time and a down comforter for bedtime.

2. Writing in my notebook. Writing is a joy for me and tied to how I learn and spark my creative process. I love organizing my thoughts, drawing out connections, revisiting old notes, and formulating new ones - circling, making stars, adding detail. I always put the date at the top and I have a pretty good memory for what year I thought of something, which allows me to reference my old notebooks all the time. I can’t imagine having 100% electronic life.

3. Toothpaste. I use plain Crest toothpaste, not the gel or with any fancy stuff.

4. Walking with a purpose - to dinner, for ice cream, to the store. Walking represents absolute freedom when you embrace the adventure along the way, skipping, twirling, having funny conversations. My neighborhood had a corner store (we call them “party stores” in Michigan), and I was allowed to walk there by myself from the time I was in elementary school – carrying out little errands for my mom. My best memories are walking – I fell in love with my husband walking around a city.

5. Good coffee. Over the years, I’ve found that bad coffee is almost as bad as no coffee. Maybe even worse. I can’t seem to make a good cup at home, so working from home has been tough in this respect. Stauf ’s coffee roasters is my favorite local coffee.

6. Laughs at the lunch table with the Advanced Materials Group in the Battelle cafeteria. We have a diverse group of political backgrounds and upbringings, as well as idiosyncrasies that spur debates, fuel silly humor, and foster warm familiarity (like one of my colleagues asking if it would be OK to get an anniversary present for his wife from the gas station). It’s an enduring group; we host retirees to re-join us. We actually had a group text this week, since we couldn’t talk in person.

7. My phone (not the most original item on my list). It is how I work, connect with my family, video chat, relax, get information. It democratizes knowledge. Right now, it is the only way I can communicate with my mom and dad in Michigan, or see my nephews and niece grow.

8. Living room dance parties/car singing parties. This is strongly influenced by my daughter, so it’s Taylor Swift, mostly. I love dancing with my daughter – she has been teaching me TikTok dances, though I still dance like I’m Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club. When I was younger, my music of choice was typical GenX new wave and punk. These days it is most likely to be power girl bands and singers like Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Rihanna, the Indigo Girls (LOL – not sure they are a power band).

9. Travel. I love to travel, and I love the planning. It is certainly a luxury, and I am looking forward to when we can vacation again. My favorite destinations are natural sites or areas rich in culture: the Swiss Alps (Murren), the Dolomites (Italian Alps), the Grand Canyon, and swimming in the Mediterranean of the Italian Riviera. Also I love Big Sur.

10. Face-to-face contact/collaborative discussions! This is one I didn’t know I missed until I couldn’t interact with my colleagues. I’ve learned I am a true extrovert; I build on the energy and excitement from my colleagues. I miss this energy more than I could have predicted.



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