Environmental health students recognized for research

Three students from Western Carolina University’s environmental health program recently presented their research projects at a safety and health conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Region 6 Professional Development Conference, a six-day event hosted by the American Society of Safety Engineers, provides students from universities across the East Coast the opportunity to present their research findings in a formal setting. Topics featured at this year’s annual conference were electrical safety, pandemic flu, industrial hygiene, nanotechnology, workers’ compensation and risk management.

Students initially submitted abstracts of their research to the Region 6 American Society of Safety Engineers, and those selected received all-expenses-paid trips to the conference. Western had more students represented at the conference than any other university, and was the only university represented by undergraduate students, said Tracy Zontek, associate professor of health sciences.

Trey Schneller, a senior from Wake Forest double majoring in environmental health and biology, presented “Determining the Impact of Oil-based Painting Classes.” Schneller is the son of John Schneller Jr. and is a 2003 graduate of Neuse Baptist Christian School.

Amy Jackson, a senior from Morganton, presented “When Art Creates Hazard: Evaluation of an Iron Pour” and took first place overall. Jackson is a 1996 graduate of Freedom High School and is the daughter of Wanda Largent of Morganton.

Michaela Hall, a senior from Greely, Colo., presented “Evaluation of an Air Sampling Protocol for Nanoscale Materials” and was invited to present her research at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 4 Annual Southeast Collegiate Environmental Science and Health Symposium in Atlanta, Ga., in November. Hall is a 2004 graduate of Greely West High School in Colorado and is the daughter of Margaret Fox and Scott Hall.

“We are very proud of the students and the support for undergraduate research at WCU,” said Zontek. “The students were offered internships and full-time jobs during the conference, and the networking opportunities were tremendous for them.”

For more information about Western’s environmental health program, contact the College of Health and Human Sciences at (828) 227-7271.