Lab Matters Summer 2018 - Page 29

training & workforce development Pasadena Middle School Students Become “Toxic Crusaders” ELP By the Numbers: 110 48 graduates by Laura Siegel, senior specialist, Training & Workforce Development participating states (including Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia) and two Canadian provinces 48 45% participating laboratories of ELP graduates have received promotions, including to laboratory director or assistant director positions 60% of ELP graduates are current or former participants on APHL committees or subcommittees What are some of your favorite ELP moments? Volunteers assemble at the Department of Toxic Substances Control Laboratory. I love seeing our ELP alumni recognized at the annual meeting each year— many alumni have been APHL award recipients—and they credit ELP with helping them get there. Also, seeing the number of people who volunteer to give back after completing the program— whether it’s through volunteering as a coach, or to review applications, or to serve on our subcommittee. n What’s it like to experience a day-in-the life of an environmental laboratory scientist? On June 2, 2018, approximately 35 middle school students did just that at the Department of Toxic Substances Control Laboratory (DTSC), Pasadena’s environmental chemistry laboratory. The ELP has helped fine tune who I am and what I offer to the profession. We are constantly looking for talented and trained staff to fill in the gaps of the public health labs. Without appropriate training and fellowship opportunities we risk losing the truly talented folks to other disciplines.” Marty Soehnlen, director, Infectious Disease, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Laboratories. PublicHealthLabs @APHL “Toxic Crusaders: Learn How DTSC Protects People and the Environment” was hosted by DTSC and APHL. During the event students rotated through four hands-on stations that reflected laboratory work performed in real-world scenarios. In a mock contaminated site investigation, students assumed one of four roles on the DTSC Emergency Response Team (ERT): safety officer, sampler, photographer or quality assurance officer. They collected samples of evidence and learned procedures employed by ERT, which responds to statewide calls requesting assistance for emergency removals from hazardous and toxic materials. After the investigation, students used three different methods to determine if samples of “toxin K” were hazardous. They performed a metal analysis using an ICP-OES instrument, measured corrosivity by analyzing pH levels and performed UV-Vis characterization to determine concentration. After each test they recorded results in their notebooks and discussed their findings at the event’s conclusion. “We feel what we do here is very important. Not a lot of people, including students and the community, really know what we’re doing in the lab,” said Mui Kultunov, the DTSC laboratory director. This is their chance to go through the lab techniques that we use every day and [let them] see the different types of careers available to them.” Towards the end of the afternoon, students and parents gathered in the lab’s atrium to hear some closing comments while a slideshow of photos from the day played in the background. Scott Giatpaiboon, DTSC environmental scientist, and several other laboratory staff gave short presentations on careers at the lab. Participants also gave informal feedback on the day’s activities. “I like that we learned something different from each station,” noted one student. “It made normal learning about science more fun and exciting.” Whether or not there were any future crusaders in the group, everyone was encouraged to keep exploring and never stop learning. n Summer 2018 LAB MATTERS 27