Three Eastern Kentucky University students from the Department of Environmental Health Science were recognized at the 81st National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Annual Education Conference and Exposition. Only five students receive student research award honors at the national conference.
Amos Kosgey (master’s of public health student) and Ambrose Maritim (undergraduate), both of whom came from Kenya to participate on the EKU cross country team, were winners of the Seattle-based Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs Student Research Competition. The 2016-17 competition was supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health. Kosgey and Maritim each received a $1,000 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the NEHA event.
In addition, Jacob McGee of Irvine, Kentucky, received NSF International’s only award, which included an all-expenses-paid trip and a $3,500 internship stipend for an NSF International-sponsored research project.
Maritim’s research, which was presented as a poster and oral presentation titled “Household Treatment in Relation to Total Coliform and E. coli Densities in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya,” described work he carried out last year with recent alumnus Adams Ronnoh (Class of 2016) and faculty mentor Dr. Jason Marion. Maritim’s presentation spotlighted water quality issues and both the benefits and deficiencies in point-of-use water treatment methods impacting 421 persons across 77 households in his home county.
Kosgey’s poster and oral presentation, titled “Antibiotic Residues in Milk from Milk ATMs in Eldoret, Kenya,” was supported by a mini-grant to Marion by the EKU Office of Sponsored Programs. Kosgey’s work assessed antibiotic residues in 80 milk samples and found detectable antibiotic residues in 29 percent of samples from mobile milk vending machines used by local dairy farmers and in 24 percent of samples from street vendors. None of the 25 commercial samples had detectable antibiotics. Antibiotics assessed were tetracycline, beta-lactams, sulfanimides and gentamicin. The work by Kosgey and Marion has been shared with Kenyan milk experts and is undergoing minor revision for re-consideration in November by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
McGee presented work also in poster and oral formats on his work-related community preparedness for lead-related water system catastrophes, with a focus on NSF-certified water filters. McGee’s project covered his work as an intern for NSF International under the mentorship of Dr. Gary Brown, professor of environmental health science.
Overall, the National Environmental Health Association represents more than 5,000 members, including many boots-on-the-ground environmental health professionals. EKU’s environmental health science program is one of 31 accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council, and is the largest accredited undergraduate program in the eastern United States. Graduates of EHAC programs meet the academic entry requirements for environmental health officer positions in the uniformed services as well as the standards to sit for registered sanitarian exams. Many students also pursue lucrative opportunities in industry.
For more information about EKU’s Environmental Health Science program, visit ehs.eku.edu or call 859-622-6343.