Since 2010, the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) has required all Training Core Fellows to participate in a research translation/community engagement (RT/CE) activity. In that first year, we did not know how students might react, but the exercise was an instant success. To this day, the Fellows look forward to this component of their training experience, and the 2013-2014 academic semester was no exception. Each year UA SRP Community Engagement Core Coordinator Denise Moreno Ramírez works with the Fellows to identify RT/CE activities that suit their strengths and interests.
Fellow Sahar Fathordoobadi, Zhilin Guo, and Omar Felix chose to attend community meetings that UA SRP RT/CE Core personnel typically attend. They participated in the Pima County Environmental Quality Advisory Council, Motorola/52nd Street Superfund Site Community Involvement Group, and the US Environmental Protection Agency Border 2020 Environmental Health meetings, respectively. Omar Felix remarked, “I think this meeting [Border 2020] was important because I was able to expand my knowledge and interact with other organizations that have different projects.”
Fellow Anastasia Sugeng decided to attend the National Institutes of Environmental Health Science webinar series entitled, “Contributions of Advanced Techniques to Understanding Arsenic in Health and the Environment.” This presentation was right up Sugeng’s alley, “Overall, each panelist had interesting information to share with everyone and I enjoyed the diversity of the speakers.”
Fellows Juliana Gil, Christopher Olivares, and Nazune Menka opted to completed a semester long commitment with the Tribal Mining Modules team. They partnered with tribal mining module students to review content, develop hands-on activities, and pilot modules at the Tohono O’Odham Community College. Juliana Gil explained that the team experience helped her to understand what to focus on, and established the expectations the team had for her as an SRP trainee and collaborator.
Fellows Eric Ditzel and Christopher Olivares served the UA SRP as representatives to the NIEHS SRP Student/Postdoc/Alumni Network (SPAN). Ditzel described the SPAN meetings as a good place to gain insight into how other SRP programs function and what goes into planning the NIEHS SRP Annual Meeting. As SPAN representatives, the two UA SRP Fellows were able to develop their professional networks, provide feedback and ideas for the annual meeting, and attend webinars from award-winning SRP trainees.
Let’s congratulate the 2013-2014 Training Core Fellows on another successful implementation of RT/CE activities!