From the series President's Awards for Excellence 2020

Outstanding Unit

Department of Environmental Health and Safety

The members of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, from left: Alex Kleine, Marjorie Markopoulos and Ron Hamilton.

The goal of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety is to ensure the health and safety of everyone at Wright State. The department has a great level of responsibility when it comes to managing possibly hazardous materials and keeping everyone safe.

Dawn Wooley, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience, cell biology and physiology, has worked with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety for nearly 30 years. She seeks out the department’s assistance for safety advice for her research laboratory, receives laboratory safety support, and works with department members on the Institutional Biosafety Committee.

The three-person department, directed by Marjorie Markopoulos, Ph.D., is on call 24/7 and serves the Dayton and Lake Campuses and all off-campus sites, including Calamityville. Environmental Health and Safety is also responsible for protecting environmental compliance and ensuring compliance with federal, state and local laws pertaining to chemical, radiological and biological hazards.

“They are extremely prompt with their responses, whether it be the simple task of picking up biohazardous waste or the more extreme task of responding to an emergency situation,” Wooley said. “They go above and beyond the call of duty. Overwhelmingly, they exhibit a positive, helpful and careful attitude.”

Wooley commended the members of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety for their hard work.

“The monumental task of finding ways to increase sanitation and help train staff to carry out these cleaning activities with the looming responsibility of reducing COVID-19 transmission placed an extreme weight upon their shoulders,” she said. “I have not seen a reduction in their ability to perform their job and provide the same level of service as past years when more resources were available.”

Environmental Health and Safety’s work was incredibly important during the pandemic. The Dayton Campus experienced an unprecedented water contamination incident over the summer of 2021. Environmental Health and Safety staff handled the situation seamlessly and were able to facilitate water cleanup in an incredibly professional way.

As Wright State was returning to in-person classes, a fire in the Student Union forced the university to close the building. Environmental Health and Safety staff coordinated with other units to ensure the cleanup and the reopening of the Student Union was done safely.

“Safety people often go unnoticed within organizations because they work behind the scenes to keep everyone safe,” Wooley said. “I believe it is time for them to be recognized for their outstanding service during an unparalleled time in history.”

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