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STEM Class Leads to OSHA Certifications

April 28, 2017

Left to right: Teresa Blumenauer, Phoenix Spivey, Joshua Jefferson, Jon-Luis Manuel Santos Villamil, Dr. Bob Bruck, Jacob Willis, Barnes Trevathan, Coleman Cherry, David Coley

Left to right: Teresa Blumenauer, Phoenix Spivey, Joshua Jefferson, Jon-Luis Manuel Santos Villamil, Dr. Bob Bruck, Jacob Willis, Barnes Trevathan, Coleman Cherry, David Coley

Eight Louisburg College students have earned federal certifications in hazardous waste operations and emergency response, which gives them credentials to be environmental health and safety directors, a burgeoning profession.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration certificate is the second federal certification this year for some of the students, who also completed a solar energy class last fall that culminated in the exam for certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners.

The courses, part of the college's expanded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum, are taught by Dr. Bob Bruck, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and Assistant Dean for STEM Programs. The OSHA-HAZWOPER certification is required for workers who perform activities that can expose them to hazardous substances, Dr. Bruck said.

One member of the class, David Coley, has been offered a job at a manufacturing plant in Ohio in environmental health and safety.

Phoenix Spivey, a sophomore who plans to study environmental science at N.C. State University in the fall, said she learned the importance of labeling chemicals in a container and how to complete materials data sheets. The class learned what chemicals are unsafe to mix, how to extinguish fires safely and protocols for leading the response to an emergency. They also are versed in personal protective equipment, training modalities, standards enforcement and community outreach.