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UAlbany NanoCollege student is selected by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to receive prestigious fellowship

First-ever EPA award will expand CNSE's innovative education and research to safeguard environmental health and safety for nanotechnology applications

Michele ShepardAlbany, NY – Further expanding its groundbreaking educational and research portfolio to safeguard environmental health and safety for nanotechnology applications, the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany announced today that a CNSE graduate student has been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive a prestigious fellowship, marking the first funding that the UAlbany NanoCollege has received from the EPA.

Michele Shepard, a Ph.D. candidate in Nanobioscience, was chosen as a recipient of the EPA’s highly competitive “Science to Achieve Results,” or STAR Fellowship, which includes a stipend, tuition, fees and institutional support. The EPA STAR Fellowship program is part of a national effort to help ensure that the U.S. meets its current and projected human resource needs in the environmental science, engineering and policy fields.
 
Working with CNSE Assistant Vice President for NanoHealth Initiatives and Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Sara Brenner, the award will allow Shepard to conduct research using risk assessment and life cycle analysis methods to better understand potential environmental health risks and necessary control measures across life cycle stages for specific nanotechnology applications. That research will both complement and build on the mission of the world’s first NanoHealth and Safety Center (NSC), headquartered at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech Complex.
 
NSC has defined and designated four critical challenges as its initial areas of focus: occupational health and safety, to include exposure to nanoparticles in the workplace; environmental health and safety, to assess the impact and life cycles of nanomaterials; resource utilization, to study decreasing water, energy and chemical usage while increasing efficiency; and proactive collaborative research and development, from new device materials and processing fluids to manufacturing processes and tools.
 
“I want to congratulate Michele Shepherd and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering for receiving this prestigious fellowship,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering has quickly become a nationally recognized resource on all aspects of safety in nanotechnology, which is producing a positive social and economic outcome for our region, in addition to powering creation of green, clean technology jobs.”
 
“On behalf of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, I am delighted to congratulate Michele Shepard on her selection as a recipient of this prestigious fellowship,” said CNSE Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros. “This recognition is emblematic of the unparalleled education, groundbreaking research and first-rate opportunities available to students at the UAlbany NanoCollege, and it further expands CNSE’s commitment to safeguarding environmental health and safety in the emerging field of nanotechnology.”

“The awarding of this esteemed fellowship recognizes the leading-edge research being conducted by Michele, and demonstrates her tremendous potential for research excellence in the field,” said CNSE Assistant Vice President for NanoHealth Initiatives and Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Dr. Sara Brenner. “I look forward to working with her on innovative research that will play a critical role in meeting the goals of CNSE’s NanoHealth and Safety Center to maximize the benefits of nanotechnology and avoid unwanted environmental health and safety outcomes.”
 
Launched in February, the NSC represents a partnership between CNSE, SEMATECH and the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI). This first-of-its-kind effort is designed to develop and implement innovative protocols to address emerging occupational and environmental health and safety issues to conserve resources, address manufacturing challenges, and reduce cost and risk. Membership in the NSC is open to chipmakers, equipment and materials manufacturers, as well as other participants in the nanotechnology, biomedical, and defense industries. In addition, the NSC and its members will collaborate with a broad network of companies, consortia, universities, national laboratories and associations from around the world.
 

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