In 2015, we bid farewell to a number of our University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) trainees as they flew the nest and graduated from their various and diverse programs of study. José L. Muñoz-Rodríguez, Eric Ditzel, and Christopher Olivares (mentored by Dr. Bernard Futscher, Dr. Todd Camenish, and Dr. Jim Field, respectively) were awarded their doctoral degrees last year. Dr. Olivares has since left Tucson to begin work in his new post-doctoral research position at Clemson University, where he is studying the impacts of forest fire on the generation of halogenated organic matter. Meanwhile, Dr. Eric Ditzel is working as a Toxicologist with EcoLab, an environmental testing company in Minnesota while Dr. Muñoz-Rodríguez accepted a Research Scientist position at the local Ventana Medical Systems, right here in Tucson, Arizona.
We also report on the success of four recent trainees in finding exciting positions where they are making a difference in environmental health issues. These trainees include Lucía Rodríguez-Freire (mentored by Dr. Jim Field), who is now a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of New Mexico; Michael Stovern, who now works “in his dream job” for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, in Denver, Colorado; Greg Schnaar (mentored by Dr. Mark Brusseau), who is a lecturer for the University of Maryland’s Environmental Science and Policy Program; and Paul Severson (mentored by Dr. Bernard Futscher), who is a research scientist working on translation pharmacology with a California biotechnology company, Plexxicon.
Last but not least, three of our fledgling undergraduates successfully earned their degrees last year. Both Abigail Peña and Maria Ojeda (mentored by Dr. Paloma Beamer) were involved in the SRP’s Metals Exposure Study in Homes (MESH) in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, and graduated with degrees in Public Health. Catie Gullo (mentored by Dr. Raina Maier) graduated with a degree in Soil, Water and Environmental Science, and subsequently accepted a position with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality in Phoenix, Arizona as a Water Quality Technician.