AU forensic biology and toxicology alumna Maria Kern (’20) is the author of a recent paper on her Honors’ Thesis research, titled “Buyer beware: Inexpensive, high cadmium jewelry can pose severe health risks.” The paper was published in the journal Science of the Total Environmen
t, and reports the results of extractions that Maria performed to determine how much cadmium could be released if jewelry containing as much as 90% cadmium by weight is mouthed or swallowed. Her results show the potential for serious hazards from this jewelry. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Mallorie Boron
, who had previously done work on the potential of high cadmium to release cadmium when disposed of in landfills, and Dr. Jeff Weidenhamer, who supervised the work. Maria has kept busy in the past year, just graduating with a Master’s degree in Toxicology from Wright State. This program focused on Leadership in science, and she found that it greatly improved her leadership, communication, writing, and presentation skills. Maria offered some comments on her experience at Ashland.
What was the most valuable aspect of working on your research project? The two most valuable aspects of this research project were the technical skills and the confidence that I gained from completing the project. I learned so much over the course of this project about how to conduct research in the lab, develop timelines, set deadlines, record data for later use, and how to combine everything into a paper that was eventually published. I also learned many technical skills specific to laboratory methods, instrumentation, data analysis, quality control, and even cleaning that will be used throughout my entire career as a scientist. Upon completing the project, I gained much more confidence in myself and...Read more