UMass Lowell Toxics Use Reduction Institute Laboratory

11:18 AM

Meet TURI's Summer Student Employees!

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TURI provides research and laboratory experiences for UMass Lowell students from a variety of majors. Meet 11 students working in the TURI lab and two students working in the TURI library this summer:

Teddy Kearney, 3rd Year Graduate. Occupational Ergonomics & Occupational Environmental Hygiene

Teddy wanted to pursue an advanced degree that related to his undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology. He hopes to become a practicing Industrial Hygienist once he graduates from the Master’s Program. He works in the TURI lab on janitorial and industrial projects and does chemical inventory work. “As I work to get a job in the field, I want to get my certification in industrial hygiene to begin helping and protecting workers from work related exposures and hazards.”   

James Keats, Senior, Chemical Engineering

James always wanted to be an engineer but found that he really enjoyed chemistry in high school. Majoring in chemical engineering was his way of combining both disciplines. He hopes to eventually work in the pharmaceutical industry. “I've become better prepared through my work at TURI because it's helped me develop my report writing and problem solving skills,” he says. “It's also taught me a lot about safety and regulation, two things which are very important to work in the pharmaceutical industry.”


Nicole Kebler, Senior, Public Health

Nicole chose to major in public health because, she says, it offers opportunities in many different fields and provides knowledge about health on a population scale rather than on an individual scale. “I’m focusing on the research side of public health and I enjoy researching new information about chemicals and how they can react with the environment and our bodies.” In the TURI lab, she’s working with a colleague on a project to evaluate sustainability and environmental impact of switching to reusable bags. “I hope to continue in the research field and apply the important information and experience I have obtained while working at TURI.”


Lewis Kerrebrock, Graduate, Public Health – Epidemiology

Lewis chose a career in public health because it was a chance for him to make a tangible difference in the world. He works in the TURI library, compiling new research and news articles on subjects including chronic conditions from chemical exposure, environmental recommendations and updates to policy in conservation, chemical regulation, and safety standards. “My experience at TURI will make me more knowledgeable about exposure-based diseases and what ecological conditions to look for when predicting them.” He hopes to work for a state health department, the National Institutes of Health or Centers for Disease Control as an epidemiologist. “As the U.S. disease burden shifts from infectious to chronic, exposure-based diseases are becoming a larger percentage of the national disease burden,” he says.


Adorrah-Le Khan, Senior, Public Health

Aborrah-Le is excited about public health, a field that allows her to study population health through observation and experimentation. “I am hopeful that the strength of public health can continue to increase life expectancy and improve overall quality of life,” she says. “By pursuing a career in epidemiology, my work at TURI helps me to approach issues in public health using alternative perspectives, addressing issues from the point of view of both a health professional and scientist.” She has recently begun collaborating on a research project about reusable bags.

Hagir Mohamed, Doctorate, Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Program

Hagir likes to work in research, validating protocols and working on projects and new products. She’s working inn the new microbiology lab at TURI to validate the devices and developing my field trial protocols. A medical doctor in her home country of Sudan, Hagir plans on taking the board exam to get into medical school here. “Working on TURI lab will help me in developing my research skills, validating new labs and qualify me to be more than just a doctor in the future, but with research skills and broader scientific background.”


Kyle Puleo. Junior, Plastics Engineering with a Minor in Biomedical Technology

Kyle has always been fascinated by technology and design. Plastics combined with biomedical technology seemed like the perfect way for him to have a wide-reaching social impact. He works in the TURI Library cataloging articles and Capstone projects so that they can be more easily accessible for those who need to access them. “I hope to be a medical device designer in the future and I believe that my work with TURI will allow me to be more informed about how to make safer medical devices and what alternatives there are to potentially toxic materials.”


Justin Rainaud, Senior, Economics

Justin likes economics because it is influenced by everyone and is always changing. “I enjoy how markets can operate on a global scale and don't have borders,” he says. In the TURI lab, he’s working on media aspects of the lab as well as janitorial testing when needed. In the future, he hopes to work at the Federal Reserve System. “My TURI experience has given me professional communication, team building and time management experiences.”



Harry Rankin, Junior, Chemistry

Harry chose the chemistry track because he is interested in biochemistry and organic chemistry. “Keeping up with the workload can be very rewarding and the classes only get more interesting as the degree progresses,” he says. As research assistant in the TURI lab, he works on janitorial testing and taking inventory of chemicals. “Since TURI is a lab that specializes in toxic reduction, environmental chemistry and green chemistry, I’m exposed to careers in the chemical sciences.”



Jaci Silva Sá, Junior, Chemistry

Jaci loves chemistry for its ability to understand the world. As a TURI lab assistant, he works on janitorial reports and testing. His hope for the future is to work in the food industry field to find ways to improve areas like food waste. “Working at TURI prepares me for my future career by allowing me to practice skills such as writing reports and research. The experience also reinforces safety practices, which are habits that are needed for any work environment.”



Kevin Smith, Senior, Chemistry

Kevin is interested in chemistry because it offers a real, physical explanation for the world around us. “I find the idea incredible that we can create new molecules to better suit our needs in society.” He is focusing his undergraduate studies within organic chemistry and synthesis. He’s been working on janitorial and industrial testing for TURI as well as contributing to finalizing the setup of the new lab facility at Boott Mills. “In the future, I hope to work as a research chemist within organic or biochemistry and TURI will help me get there by giving me years of wet lab experience.”

Vinh Tran ‘17, BS in Business Administration, Supply Chain Management; Freshman, Biomedical Engineering, Fall 2018.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in business, Vinh Tran’s work in the TURI lab for five years has influenced his next degree choice. “Working at TURI has given me a renewed sense of direction, making me realize that I wanted to pursue a career in STEM,” He will study biomedical engineering in the fall. “I wish to actively improve the quality of life of humanity through tangible means by way of medical devices. I’ve been immersed in a professional laboratory setting at TURI, collaborating with coworkers to complete experiments. I’ve been project lead for a number of tests, all of which I know will prepare me for my future career.”

Othon Pagounes, Junior, Biomedical Engineering

Othon is interested in biomedical engineering because it combines both engineering and biology to help improve people's lives. In the TURI Lab, he works as lab assistant, producing janitorial reports and conducting testing. “I hope to work in a medical device company one day,” he says. “The wet lab, writing of reports and research skills I have gained at TURI will add to the tools I've learned at UML to make me a better engineer.”


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