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Public Health Student Wins Environmental Research Award


Environmental Health Sciences student Anastasia Sugeng was awarded First Place in the 2011 Environmental Grad Research Blitz in November. Now in its second year, the competition is sponsored by the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona and provides a showcase for the wide-range of cutting-edge environmental research going on at the university.

Not one but two graduate students from the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health walked away from the competition with awards on Nov. 8th. Vivien Lee, who is working on a master of science degree in Environmental Health Sciences, was awarded Honorable Mention.

Sugeng’s research focused on farmworkers and their families in Yuma, Arizona who may have increased risk for agricultural pesticide exposure in their homes. The study compared potential in-home contamination in Yuma to other communities to determine how pesticides get into their homes.

Lee studied a disease called Schistosomiasis that is contracted when skin is exposed to parasites found in water. Agricultural workers and children living in rural, under-developed countries are most at risk of becoming infected. Exposing the factors that attract the parasite to their mammalian hosts will aid in the development of a low tech, passive environmental surveillance device that can be used in detection.

From American Indian studies to rangeland management to public health, graduate students who competed in the Blitz, demonstrated how their work is tackling environmental challenges and creating opportunities in the Sonoran Desert and throughout the world. The rapid-fire Blitz blends a series of five-minute “speed talks” with poster presentations, providing a great opportunity to quickly get up to speed on the latest environmental work at the university.

Both Sugeng and Lee will graduate in December with a Master of Science in Environmental Health Sciences. After the New Year it’s back to school for both of them as they continue their graduate education and begin doctoral programs at the Zuckerman College of Public Health.

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