Student Presents, Discusses Waterborne Diseases at National Conference

Jason Marion (Eastern Kentucky University) and Jayden Hamlet at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists Annual Conference in June.

Galloway, N.J. –  Environmental Science major Jayden Hamlet  presented original research at a national conference in Salt Lake City in June.

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference  gathers more than 2,500 public health epidemiologists and researchers to a conference that includes workshops, roundtable discussions, poster presentations and more. Attendees meet and share their research on timely and important public health topics, such as infectious diseases, immunizations and environmental health.

Hamlet’s research centered on waterborne diseases, like E. coli, and the areas where it is concentrated. He took samples from urban, rural and forested areas and tested the samples to see if the E. coli bacteria was resistant or susceptible to antibiotics. After conducting his research, Hamlet concluded that urban areas had a higher E. coli concentration than others, demonstrating that cities are where water contamination happens the most.

“What inspired me to conduct this research was my curiosity to (conduct) something different other than forest or animal research,” Hamlet said. “This research is linked to epidemiology, which is a field of study I was not familiar with but am now learning a lot about because of this conference.”

Being one of the youngest attendees at the conference was an experience that Hamlet considers “joyful” and “surreal.”

“To have my research that my mentor (Marion) and I worked on for 10 weeks be presented was a joyful experience because it was presented alongside research that was also conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and other research that had involved bacteria and diseases,” Hamlet said. “My research may not have taken months to get as nearly complete as the other researchers, but many people came up to me and my mentor to ask us questions about the work and how we completed it in such a short time.”

Jayden Hamlet during the CSTE Annual Conference in June; he's wearing a green polo and blue CSTE lanyard, smiling for the camera
Hamlet was inspired by his curiosity to conduct research outside of forests and animals. Photo submitted by Hamlet.  

According to Hamlet, the best way to get involved in student research like this is to use the summer months to start looking for a mentor and internship opportunities. 

“Your mentor has to be associated with whatever research you want to seek out. I say this because having a mentor or professor helps you get access and information to things a normal student would not have,” Hamlet said. “Internships are another great way to get involved in research, and there are plenty of research opportunities that will pay you or pay for your research to get done. An internship is a great way, especially in the summer, to explore what kind of science or research, in general, you would like to do.”

Hamlet’s trip to the Utah conference was co-sponsored by the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Academic Achievement Programs.

Ian Bouie, the director of Academic Achievement Programs and advisory board member/lead adminstrator of the Sankofa Retention Initiative, said he’ll always be there when it comes to supporting students like Hamlet in gaining these high-impact experiences.

"Whether the support is financial, academic or motivational, we are always looking for new ways to provide resources to these groups, in particular our young men of color who are often overlooked, such as Jayden,” Bouie said. “I am grateful for the assistance of dean (Amanda) Norvell and NAMS as we helped make Jayden's academic and professional dreams come true by presenting his original research at the CSTE. Jayden is a brilliant student, and I could not be prouder of his research endeavors.  We in AAP look forward to assisting more young men of color as they pursue their career goals." 

– Story by Loukaia Taylor

– Photos submitted