July 31, 2014 8:45 AM
Each of the scholars worked throughout the session on an individual research project in areas such as environmental toxicology, environmental epidemiology and industrial hygiene.
The academy, which completed its second year with a poster presentation on Friday (July 25), was developed by faculty lead Jeffrey Wickliffe, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences, and program director Lynette Perrault.
“I wanted it to be a well-rounded program including lab research and field experience that connects research back to the community,” Perrault says.
The students’ intensive lab work alternated each week with field trips to a wide range of environmental settings. They went to the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station and the Hammond Assimilation Wetlands in Manchac, Louisiana. They visited Port Fourchon, touring a deep-sea ship to learn about industrial environmental practices. For the academy’s last tour of the summer, the scholars visited P&J Oyster Co. in the French Quarter to learn about food safety.
Postdoctoral students, graduate students and faculty members of the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences closely guided the students’ efforts.
“This mentoring provides our postdoctoral fellows with an opportunity to be involved in education,” Wycliffe says. “This experience will make them more competitive when they are ready to advance to the next stage of their careers, becoming assistant professors.”
Funded by the Deepwater Horizon Medical Settlement, the Emerging Scholars Academy awards each scholar $4,000 for future college expenses.
“The students in the program are really interested in seeing what science is like,” says Wickliffe. “I think most of them will go on and work in some STEM field —science, technology, engineering or math.”
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