Regional Spotlight: North Atlantic Chapter
Adria Elskus, USGS
The SETAC North Atlantic Chapter (NAC) held its 20th Annual Meeting and Short Course from 10–13 June at the University of Massachusetts Hotel & Conference center in Amherst, Mass. Alan Parsons, Kingston Consultancy, and Ken Finkelstein, NOAA, chaired the two-day short course “NRDA II – Translating Ecological Injury to Compensation,” with instructors from Cardno-ENTRIX, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Interior and NOAA. Through lively lectures and discussions, the instructors illustrated the science behind natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs) as well as the interactive and cooperative nature of the NRDA process. The short course was well received by both professionals and student participants. The short course was followed by our annual two-day meeting that included two keynote speakers on hydraulic fracturing: John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company and current executive director and managing partner of Jkh Group, LLC, and Yvonne Hennessey, Esq, partner at Hiscock & Barclay, LLP. A full first day of platform sessions, a poster social and a banquet was capped by a music jam featuring NAC musicians and singers. On the second day, platform sessions continued throughout the morning, highlighted by the student mentoring session, “Shaping Your Career: It Isn’t Just About the Technical Expertise,” which was presented by Mary Haasch. Students were observed writing down nearly every word of Haasch's presentation! As has become a tradition at recent NAC meetings, student poster award winners from the previous day presented five-minute platform talks on their posters during the morning session.
In all, $1,100 in support were awarded to the best four student poster and platform presentations, and the best graduate platform presenter, Ariel Lewis with the University of Maine, also received travel support to the SETAC Vancouver meeting to present her work on mercury biogeochemistry. The second graduate student winner was Haotin Wu with the University of Massachusetts for his poster on sperm nucleic acid extraction. The two undergraduate award winners were Beruk Kiros with the University of Massachusetts for his presentation on the role of inflammation on thyroid hormone disruption, and Claire Whalen with the University of New England for her presentation on the response of blue crabs to municipal wastewater effluent.
Several students were able to attend our meeting and the sponsored short course through student travel awards. These awards and events were funded in part by NAC, Cardno-ENTRIX, Gradient, Exponent, Alpha Analytical, Woodward & Curran, New England Bioassay, the Dartmouth Superfund Program and Harlan Contract Research Services and with monies raised during our Poster Social Raffle and Silent Auction.
We are very excited to be offering a one-day “Science Communication Workshop” on 12 September at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Check our website for details! We are also planning the venue for our 21st Annual Meeting and Short Course to be held 10–12 June 2015. The location will be announced soon. Suggestions for session and short course topics are welcome. Please visit our website to join NAC, offer suggestions, review past events or receive updates for future events.
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