CSETAC would like to recognize some of the student presentation winners from our 2018 Annual Meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Once an aspiring medical doctor, Austin Gray, a student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina and the 2st place student platform presentation winner, shares how the support of the general public and science communiation are essential to his reaserch goals.
The beginning of my pursuits towards a career in environmental toxicology goes back to my time as a undergrad (2010). I entered college with the desire to pursue a pre-medical school curriculum. However, it was Dr. John Weinstein who introduced me to the world of environmental toxicology during a work study job. Since then I have worked diligently towards my ultimate goal of a becoming a professional environmental toxicologist/chemist.
My current research efforts invovle investigating antibiotic pollution in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, which actively invovles participation of local landowners and residents. Conducting research that can be communicated to the public is something that I am very passionate about. As scientists we often focus so much on method development, analysis and publishing that we forget the public education of scientific findings is just as important.
Several things motivate me in my pursuits including; my late father, the sacrifice of my mother and brothers, and the many people from the Charleston community that have supported me through my endeavors. Being a graduate student can be overwhelming at times, but making time for life outside of research is an important part of being a productive scientist. In my free time I enjoy reading the works of James Baldwin, watching movies, discussing comic books, and enjoying being outdoors.