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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC: Three Students Visit Germany for Hands-on Practicums

Ms. Brandi Martin, Mr. Casey McGoun and Ms. Emily Price got hands-on in a laboratory at the Institute of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, during the summer and fall of 2019.

The three are Master of Science in Public Health students in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. They all work in the lab of Dr. Leena Nylander-French, a professor in their department and director of both the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Education and Research Center and the Occupational Exposure Science and Industrial Hygiene Program.

A practicum experience is one requirement of their degree program, and Dr. Nylander-French’s international academic network yielded global opportunities for her students. Her laboratory is funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and the same organization also funded travel and lodging for the students’ practicums.

“Our lab is one of the only ones that I know of looking into occupational exposure science,” said Ms. Price. “For example, I work on research into exposure to diisocyanates in the auto refinishing industry. We take samples from workers — mostly spray-painters — and measure the amounts of chemicals in their systems to better understand potential negative health effects.”

“I study exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are chemicals released from activities like burning coal, trash and wood,” Mr. McGoun said. “I’m working to evaluate exposure to PAHs linked with cook stove use in Rwandan households.”

In Germany, the students all worked in the lab of Dr. Heiko Käfferlein, head of the Center of Toxicology at the Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance.

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