Thursday, April 26, 2012

Area High School Students Learn About Environmental Science at AU

After her presentation, Dr. Melissa Schultz, College of Wooster, addressed
a series of great questions from area high school students.

In mid-April, the Environmental Science Program hosted 59 high school students from programs at Ashland High School, Black River High School, and Hillsdale High School.  These students and their teachers were on-campus for the annual "Lunch and Lecture" for science students.  This year's presenter was Dr. Melissa Schultz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the College of Wooster, Wooster, OH.  Dr. Schultz presented a talk titled "Clean and Happy Fish (And the Other Effects of Consumer Products on Non-Target Organisms)."

Dr. Schultz’s area of research is the fate and transport of consumer products in the environment. Personal care products in general are widely introduced into aquatic environments via releases from municipal waste water treatment plants (WWTP).  The presence of these chemicals in the tissues of fishes downstream from WWTP supports the idea that these facilities are serving as a point source. The impact of these pollutants on the lives of downstream organisms is only partly understood, and is an important area of current study.  Regional differences in the impact of these pollutants depends on frequency of human use, the transport distance and behavior of specific chemicals in nature, and local and regional human population size.  This talk discussed the origins and what is known about the impact of some consumer products on downstream organisms.

The goal of the "Lunch and Lecture" is to encourage interest in science and open up new ideas for career tracks for high school students to consider.  Other recent speakers in the high school series have included Dr. John Chick, Director of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (invasive Asian carp and the Great Lakes) and Richard Moseley, Retired Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (the history, diversity, and mission of Ohio's preserve network).  The "Lunch and Lecture" is a part of the community-wide AU Environmental Lecture Series, just about to start up its 21st year!

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