The Short Term Educational Experiences of Research in Environmental Science for Undergraduates (STEER) Program is a ten week summer internship awarded to undergraduate students interested in environmental health. Through a collaboration between the CEET, the Center for Public Health Initiatives and multiple schools and faculty at Penn, the STEER program provides didactic experiences in environmental and public health, as well as research mentorship opportunities in a variety of areas of environmental exposures and health effects. The COEC will be highlighting the achievements and experiences of 2015 STEER students below.
I’m a rising senior at Dickinson College majoring in Physics and minoring in Biology and Mathematics. My academic interests include renewable energies and pollution reduction and I hope to someday help make a greener and more sustainable society. I enrolled in the STEER program to learn more about environmental health and the career possibilities offered in this field.
What is your summer research project?
In the STEER program this summer I worked with my mentor, Rich Pepino, as well as with teachers and students from the Gerard Academic Music Program in order to gain a better understanding of air toxics in southern Philadelphia and their sources.
What are the implications of your research?
My research showed that there is an abnormal amount of multiple air toxics in south Philadelphia. It also showed that there is a need for an improved air-monitoring network in the city. Implementing a network of air toxics monitors capable of continuously recording data will allow specific events, like a leak in a factory, to be connected to peaks in the air data. In addition, my research highlighted the need for regulatory agencies to consider cumulative risk from multiple pollutants and special populations when they calculate risk from air toxins.