Native Americans have a long history of being under-represented in higher education. Currently, only 5% of Native American high school graduates go directly into a four-year college and a small percentage of those major in STEM-related degrees. In an effort to increase participation of Native American students in college programs, and introduce them to biomedical sciences, Oregon State Superfund Research Center holds several activities to bring Native Youth to campus to increase their awareness of opportunities in College and scientific careers.

On May 20, over 20 tribal youth and chaperones came to Oregon State University for a campus tour, student panel and the 41st annual Klatowa Eena Powwow. (Klatowa Eena is Chinook Wawa for ‘Go Beavers.’) SRP trainee Sydelle Harrison, who is part of the Community Engagement Core (CEC), worked with the Research Translation Core, the Training Core and SRP Administration to procure funding and organize the daylong event. For the second year in a row, Sydelle worked with youth organizations to bring students from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

The 20+ students started at Callahan Hall, where SRP trainee Amelia Allee, (CEC), and University Housing and Dining Services staff took the students through the freshman dormitory, highlighting the shared lounges and kitchenettes, and showing the students a dorm room.

Following the dorm tour, Athletics staff took students on a tour of Reser stadium, including a tour of President Ed Ray’s box, and provided them an opportunity to run on the field. Up next, was the OSU Basketball Center where the students (and chaperones) took to the court. After working up an appetite, the dining halls were next, followed by the Powwow. To finish off the day, SRP trainees hosted a pizza dinner. Here, students had the opportunity to ask trainees questions about college, graduate school and SRP research. Two tribal elders attended, giving the youth their perspective regarding the importance of college. SRP trainees and faculty answered questions about the value of community college, the typical length of a college degree as well as opportunities for distance learning at the OSU satellite campuses. Many thanks to Sydelle Harrison; without her these tours would not be possible. In addition, many thanks to Amber Kramer, Carolyn Poutasse, Alix Robel, Amelia Allee and Drs. Molly Kile, Diana Rohlman, Craig Marcus and Robert Tanguay for their help.

Project 3 Update

by Jamie Minick odeq-report

The McCormick and Baxter Superfund Site is located on the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon and has PAH contaminated soils and sediments from historical creosote operations. As part of an Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) ten year study to assess the effectiveness of the sediment cap, passive sampling devices from Kim Anderson’s lab were deployed by U.S. EPA Region 10 divers in both sediment and water at the site. Included in this study was a newly designed passive sampling sediment probe which allowed for deployment in the rocky armoring of the sediment cap. Based on data from this study, the ODEQ reported that the sediment cap appears to be effective in meeting its remedial objectives.  The full results of the study, used to inform ODEQ regulatory decision making, is available here (https://semspub.epa.gov/work/10/100031136.pdf), beginning on page 20.

FullSizeRenderSydelle Harrison was awarded an SRP Externship to work with the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation). The clinic is celebrating 20 years of self-governance this month and preparing to move into a new state of the art facility next year.

Sydelle is working on various special projects to support the Public Health Accreditation process. Her duties include outreach related to the community health assessment. She is also collecting feedback regarding the community health improvement plan.

As a Tribal member and SRP trainee, Sydelle is also working on the clinic’s new strategic plan. She aims to promote integration of environmental health back into the organization as they expand services. This has also proven to be a focal point for many Tribal members in her presentations as they ask what the people and first foods are being exposed to. Between her externship and her role as an SRP trainee, Sydelle is helping connect SRP researchers and tribal commission members and community members to expand capacity environmental health research.

Me headshotAmber Kramer is a first year Chemistry Graduate student working with Dr. Staci Simonich on SRP Project 5.  She is working on identifying oxidation products formed during polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) remediation.

Amber has been selected to work with Dr. Alla Zelenyuk this summerat Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to get hands on experience studying atmospheric reactions of PAHs adsorbed to secondary organic aerosols (SOAs).  Many PAHs are on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) priority pollutant list.  Amber has been awarded an SRP Trainee Externship Award through the SRP Training Core to support her during this training.

Dr. Zelenyuk’s group at PNNL has done extensive work with SOAs.  This externship will provide training and experience for Amber to study PAH adsorption during SOA formation, as well as reactions these PAHs may undergo when exposed to atmospheric species like ozone and hydroxyl radicals.  Some oxidation products of PAHs have been show to be more toxic than the original PAH, and this work along with long range transport models, will help identify U.S. populations at risk from exposure to common atmospheric PAH sources.

Research Partner: Swinomish Indian Tribal CommunityCeLNR_-UkAA_AUi

March 2016

In collaboration with the SRP Chemistry Core, SRP trainees Holly Dixon and Greta Frey (CEC) worked with Drs. Rohlman and Kile on a passive wristband project. Following a significant air quality incident last year, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community was interested in the passive wristband samplers developed by Dr. Kim Anderson. This year, the community recruited 10 individuals to each wear a wristband for one week. The wristbands were analyzed for 62 different PAHs, and results were returned to those participants that requested them. The study will be repeated in the fall with the same participants, as the community is interested in seasonal changes in air quality.