Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ECBC Mentors Help SMA Senior Publish Capstone Project Results for Peer Review

Serving as mentors in the local community, Operations Research Analyst Daniel Barker and Research General Engineer Karen Coyne, Ph.D. from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) have supported Briana Elmore, senior at Aberdeen’s Science and Mathematics Academy (SMA), with her capstone project efforts over the course of the past year.

With guidance from her mentors, Briana achieved outstanding capstone project results and became the co-author of a peer-reviewed presentation and technical report, entitled “Field of View of Commercial Air-Purifying Respirators”.

Her research results will be presented at the 2011 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo, known as the premier event for thousands of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore. on 18 May.

Drawing from her experience as a cooperative education student at the U.S. Coast Guard Electronics Engineering Center, Coyne decided to pass on the educational value of mentorship relationships that motivated her to stay in the engineering career field. In addition to judging eCYBERMISSION project folders, she strongly believes in the benefit of engaging students in the application of real-world science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences through mentoring.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

ECBC BioSciences Staff Recognized With Bronze Federal Career Awards

Three Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) BioSciences staff members have been selected to receive Bronze 2011 Excellence in Federal Career Awards from the Baltimore Federal Executive Board. Lalena Wallace and Lisa Smith of the BioDefense Branch will receive a medal for Outstanding Scientific Support Team and Sandy Leonard, project support assistant for the BioChemistry Branch, will receive a medal for Rookie Employee of the Year.

Wallace and Smith are being recognized for their technical contributions in a number of high-profile programs, including Test Methods Development from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs, Detection of Biowarfare pathogen in Drinking Water and Development of Novel Bioassay for the Detection of Ricin Toxin from the U.S. EPA National Homeland Security Research Center and Testing of Hot Air as a Non-invasive Decon Technology for Aircraft Interior from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office. In addition, Wallace provided significant input to the conceptual development of novel Ricin bioassay.

“Congratulations to Lalena and Lisa for being selected as winners,” said Vipin Rastogi, Ph.D., of the BioDefense Branch, who nominated the two biologists. “They represent a symbol of maturity, integrity, and utmost professionalism at work place blended with an even temper, team spirit, and safe work ethics.

“Sandy has performed at an exceptional level in developing and maintaining the programmatic operations of the BioChemistry Branch,” said Branch Chief Jim Carney. “Consequently, she has been an invaluable asset to me in carrying out the job of branch chief.”

The staff members will receive their awards during an awards luncheon in Baltimore May 6.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Paper Published Linking Psychological Hardiness and Cholesterol

Did you know there’s a link between cholesterol and psychological resilience?

Jay Valdes, Ph.D., Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) senior technologist in biotechnology, co-authored a paper addressing that link that will be presented as a poster at the May 2011 meeting of the Association for Psychological Science. The paper, “Biomarkers for Hardiness-Resilience:  Psychological Hardiness Is Linked to Baseline Cholesterol Levels in Healthy Adults,” was co-authored with Paul Bartone, Ph.D., senior research fellow at the National Defense University (NDU); Tony Spinosa, director of the NDU Health & Fitness Directorate; and Lt. Col. Joel Robb, U.S. Air Force.

Monday, April 11, 2011

ECBC Microbiologist Shows Seniors at Aberdeen High School Science in Action

Looking to bring Advanced Placement (AP) biology textbook concepts to life for more than 30 seniors at Aberdeen High School (AHS) March 16, Research Microbiologist Lauren McNew from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) opened the doors to the world of genetics, DNA sampling and genome sequencing. 

“The research we do at ECBC helps develop detection technologies that can, for example, test particles in the air,” McNew said. “Our main focus is to unburden the warfighters in their environment and protect them from injuries the best we can."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Women's History Month Blog Series (Final Blog)

In recognition of Women's History Month, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) presents a special blog series featuring candid responses from female ECBC employees and leaders on their experiences as females in the science and engineering fields. The final submission in this blog series features Mandi Yocum, a systems engineer on the Joint Service Aircrew Mask – Fixed Wing (JSAM-FW) program.

When you are 18 and faced with deciding “what you will do with your future,” the task seems daunting.  For me, a love for science and math, a nagging desire to “maybe” do something medical, a self-commitment to always be able to support myself financially and a chat with a few friends of the family led me to a career in chemical engineering. Since making that decision, I have never looked back. 

Upon graduation from college, it was clear that although I could optimize hairspray or refine oil for a career I would really find ultimate satisfaction in a job where helping people was the main objective.  Around the same time as I made important decisions about my career, I had also met the man who would later become my husband. So while choosing a career path, I also began the daunting task of trying to strike a healthy work-life balance. For me, finding that balance is an evolving process and something that I continue to deal with today, as my family grows.  Honestly, this has been one of my biggest challenges — and from talking with many of my mentors — the portrait of success in this area is different for everyone. 

ECBC Engineering Directorate BSC Initiative Provides Direction for Knowledge Management, SharePoint Use

Since the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) Engineering Directorate’s Balanced Scorecard (BSC) strategy development process began in 2005, Engineering Directorate staff have remained engaged because the strategy itself is relevant and accessible. The structure of the strategy calls for continuous efforts to educate individuals about strategic initiatives and these initiatives seek to improve daily operations for the workforce — including a specific initiative for knowledge management.

When Mike Brown heard about the warehouse filled with boxes of ECBC documents, he wondered how many more boxes existed, tucked away in the corners of employees’ cubicles, offices and storage spaces.

“Engineering Associate Director, Bill Klein approached me and explained his concern that the documents in the warehouse may get lost or damaged, so he wanted them scanned and saved,” Brown, Team Leader of the strategy’s Knowledge Management Initiative, said. “I explained how this could potentially turn into something bigger.”

Friday, April 1, 2011

Five ECBC Engineering Employees Selected To Receive FEB Excellence Award

The Baltimore Federal Executive Board (FEB) has selected five ECBC Engineering Directorate employees to be recognized at its 44th Annual Excellence In Federal Career Awards program. The Baltimore FEB is one of 28 Federal Executive Boards across the country that works to provide closer coordination among federal agencies outside of the nation’s capital. The awards program, which will take place on May 6, recognizes federal employees for excellence in job performance during the previous year. Congratulations to the following five employees for this achievement: