SOT Undergraduate Consortium Task Force Builds Relationships with Undergraduate Campuses

In 2017, SOT Council appointed the Undergraduate Consortium Task Force for a three-year pilot to develop recommendations on how SOT can partner with a small number of undergraduate institutions with the goal of introducing toxicology to a pool of science-oriented, academically motivated students.

The task force was chaired by Barbara Kaplan, then by Marquea King, and in this final year, by me along with Co-Chair Andrij Holian. Other task force members include Sarah Campion and Jodi Flaws. Council liaisons have included Mary Beth Genter and currently Cynthia Rider.

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As part of our charge, we identified nine consortium institutions and established an SOT member to coordinate with the designated campus contact at each institution (see table). We communicated about SOT programs for undergraduates, promoted careers in toxicology, supported activities at the Regional Chapter meetings in the geographic areas of the consortium institutions, and provided support for a team of students and a non-SOT member advisor from the institutions to attend the SOT annual meetings in Baltimore and Anaheim. Also, just as important, toxicologists made visits, such as the one described below, to these institutions.

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Institution

City, State

SOT Champion

Claflin University

Orangeburg, SC

Chellu Chetty

Delaware State University

Dover, DE

Marquea King

Fort Valley State University

Fort Valley, GA

Kristini Miles

Norfolk State University

Norfolk, VA

Marion Ehrich

North Carolina A&T State University

Greensboro, NC

Ronald Baynes

North Carolina Central University

Durham, NC

Ronald Baynes

Salish Kootenai College

Pablo, MT

Andrij Holian

University of Maryland Baltimore County

Baltimore, MD

David Jett

University of Montana Western

Dillon, MT

Andrij Holian

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On October 2, 2019, SOT campus liaison Marion Ehrich from the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine; a Norfolk State University (NSU) alumnus; and I, from North Carolina Central University, appeared before a class of honors science, math, and engineering undergraduates at NSU in Norfolk, Virginia. We discussed careers in toxicology and SOT programs for undergraduates. NSU faculty sponsors were Drs. Malikah Abdullah, Aliecia McClain, and Michael Parker. Among items discussed were career choices to consider beyond the bachelor’s degree, the value of mentoring in obtaining professional goals, and what SOT has to offer for undergraduates, including programs at its Annual Meeting.

The task force is looking forward to sharing with Council our experiences over the past three years as well as recommendations for moving forward. We anticipate that the Faculty United for Toxicology Undergraduate Recruitment and Education (FUTURE) Committee and Committee on Diversity Initiatives will be charged with furthering the efforts we have initiated. In conclusion, I want to offer special thanks to all members of the task force as well as the SOT support staff for all their hard work over the past three years.    

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