Ms. Samantha McNeal has just begun her doctoral program in the department of environmental health sciences (ENHS), but she’s already immersing herself in service within the field. She recently agreed to serve as the Graduate Student Representative for the Toxicologists of African Origin Special Interest Group within the Society of Toxicology.
Originally from Denver, Ms. McNeal earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a Master of Public Health before enrolling at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Health Sciences. “The Center for Environmental NanoScience & Risk (CENR) and their work with nanomaterials are what attracted me to USC,” she says. “I knew I wanted to pursue a doctoral degree in environmental health sciences, but more specifically I wanted to focus on risk assessment and risk management concerning nanomaterials; CENR is doing just that.”
In particular, Ms. McNeal sought out CENR’s Dr. Mohammed Baalousha, who has become her mentor, because of his extensive expertise in nanotechnology. “I was also drawn to the fact that the ENHS program is based on an interdisciplinary approach that includes environmental microbiology, toxicology and exposure sciences — which are all critical components,” she says. As a bonus, she has found all of the faculty and students to be extremely friendly and welcoming.