Brandon Armstrong, President, SETAC Ohio Valley Chapter

The Ohio Valley SETAC North America Regional Chapter (OVC) hosted an annual meeting from 5–6 April at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Romano Mazzoli Federal Building in Louisville, Kentucky. With 65 people in attendance, the meeting attracted a diverse group of experts from academia, business and government under the theme “Emerging Contaminants: Impacts, Challenges, and Advances.” John Bock and Jade Young provided an overview of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mission and Water Quality Program.

Four plenary talks were presented. Karen Keil gave a plenary titled “The Manhattan Project’s Environmental Legacy and Associated Emerging Contaminants: We’re still cleaning up some 75 years later.” Judy Strawhecker presented “Emerging Contaminants and the Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program.” The third plenary was presented by Susan Glassmeyer and was titled “Contaminants of Emerging Concern During De Facto Water Reuse.” Jim Lazorchak rounded out the plenary session with “What are Contaminants of Emerging Concern – Examples of biological and chemistry approaches to their detection, exposure and effects.”

During the two-day meeting, 11 platform presentations were given by students and professionals in addition to 12 poster presentations. Presenters discussed an array of interdisciplinary topics, which focused on various aspects of evaluation, research and regulations associated with emerging contaminants. The staff at the Falls of Ohio State Park graciously gave attendees a tour of Devonian fossil beds found at the State Park and provided their facility for an evening networking mixer. Cory White and Will Clabaugh presented “Getting into the Workforce and Improving Your Resume” to students over lunch on both days of the meeting.

In total, the OVC awarded $950 in student presentation awards to the following winners:

  • Alexandra Steele, a Ph.D. student at Bowling Green State University, received the Marian Vinegar Award, which is given to the best overall student presentation, for her talk titled “Contaminants of Emerging Concern During De Facto Water Reuse.”
  • Kristi Weighman, a master’s student at Bowling Green State University, received the Best Graduate Student Platform Presentation Award for her talk on “Mapping Dynamic Exposure in Artificial Streams.”
  • Eva Stebel, an undergraduate student at the College of Wooster, presented the Best Undergraduate Student Platform Presentation with her talk titled “Adsorption of Perfluoroalkyl Substances to Modified Organosilica Adsorbents.”
  • James Feller, a Ph.D. candidate at the Ohio State University, was awarded the Best Graduate Student Poster Award for his presentation on “Quantifying Ecosystem Responses to Stress: An Environmental DNA (eDNA) Approach.”
  • Tawni Riker, an undergraduate student at Northern Kentucky University, presented the Best Undergraduate Student Poster with her poster on “Sex-specific Gene Expression Associated with Zinc Homeostasis in Squirrelfish.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the best overall undergraduate and graduate presentation to Eva Stebel and Stuart Lichtenberg, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kentucky, respectively. Finally, the OVC Board of Directors awarded Angela Schmidt an Outstanding Member Award for her exceptional effort in organizing the 2019 meeting.

The 2020 meeting will be hosted by the University of Cincinnati and will focus on environmental engineering and remediation technologies. Stay tuned for the dates of the meeting.

Author’s contact information: ArmstrongB5@michigan.gov

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