SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
  September 2010
Volume 11 Issue 9

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Regional Spotlight: North Atlantic Chapter

The North Atlantic Chapter (NAC) includes all the New England States plus the Canadian Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  A full description of our chapter events is posted on our website at

Our annual chapter meeting was held 2–4 June 2010 at the Village Inn, Narragansett, Rhode Island. The meeting began with a short course, Introduction to Green Chemistry, taught by Dr. Nicholas Anastas of Poseidon’s Trident, LLC, with contributions by graduate students from Dr. Paul Anastas’ laboratory at Yale. The next day was a full day with four platform sessions (Session 1: Environmental Chemistry—Session 2: Local Issues— Session 3: Contaminated Sediments—and Session 4: Energy and Environment), poster social, banquet and the keynote dinner address, Understanding Coastal Geologic Hazards, Sea Level Rise and Climate Change in Rhode Island by Professor Jon Boothroyd from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Rhode Island. The evening was capped by a music jam featuring NAC musicians and singers. Ever looking for ways to better serve our students, Thursday also marked the debut of the Career Speed Dating Luncheon. Nac 2010 student award winnersA presentation about various environmental careers was followed by an informal lunch with tables hosted by individuals from government, industry and academia. Students selected tables based on their interests and conversations ensued. This proved to be a popular event and encouraged greater interaction among students and professionals throughout the remainder of the conference. Friday continued with a half day of platform sessions (Session 5: Environmental Toxicology—Session 6: Other Topics in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry), followed by the meeting of the NAC Board. NAC awarded over $2,000 in support of 25 student attendees including four competitive student poster and platform awards, 10 student travel awards, and reduced registrations including lunches and banquet tickets for all attendees.

Our 2010 Student Presentation award winners were (left to right): Sara Collins (Best Overall Platform), Cynthia Kendall McKenzie (Best 1st Time Platform), Pooja Shakya (Best Undergraduate Poster) and Victoria Paris Sacks (Best Overall Poster). Both Collins and Sacks will also receive travel awards from NAC SETAC to offset their costs to attend and present their research at the SETAC North America meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Looking ahead, on 30 September NAC SETAC will host a short course on Environmental Statistics at the Doyle Conservation Center, in Leominster, MA. This workshop will provide a one-day overview of the role of statistics for environmental professionals. The material will be presented at a conceptual level. It will begin with introductory concepts, move into application of statistics in environmental problem-solving, then discuss the real-world challenges environmental practitioners face with censored (non-detect) data, and finally conclude with a discussion of commercially available software. All sessions will be interactive. The course instructors, Paul and Kelly Black of Neptune & Co. are well suited for the role. Paul Black holds a Ph.D. in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University. His interest in environmental statistics stems from training as a Bayesian statistician with a strong tendency to look for efficient and logical solutions to complex environmental problems. Kelly Black is an environmental statistician with two degrees in statistics and co-emphases in sociology and economics. Her current projects include working with EPA to develop guidance and training on aspects of systematic planning and data analysis. She has taught statistics and data quality courses throughout the country and enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for these subjects with those who previously ranked them below having an impacted wisdom tooth removed.

In addition, plans are already underway for our 16th Annual Chapter Meeting and Short Course on 8–10 June, 2011 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, Maine.

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