William Smith Student Studies Arsenic With the EPA – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

William Smith Student Studies Arsenic With the EPA

GENEVA, N.Y.- Heather Beach, of Eldred, N.Y., a senior at William Smith College, is working this summer as an intern with the Environmental Protection Agency in the organization's Chapel Hill, N.C., labs. Beach hopes her work there will not only have a significant impact on her career path, but on society at large as well. At the EPA, she works alongside analytical chemist Joseph Simeonsson quantifying extremely low levels of arsenic in drinking water, as well as investigating how the element is metabolized in the human body by studying blood and urine samples from Native Americans living on Puget Sound.

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Beach is pursuing an individual major in science journalism. She has more than two years of chemistry, and one year each in biology, physics, and calculus. Beach does not believe her research will be used to either support or disclaim the recent rescission of arsenic-level regulations by the Bush administration, although she is acutely aware of her study's other ramifications. Beach was the recipient of The Spitzer Family Scholarship during 2000-2001.

“This is a life and death issue,” she says. “It is my hope that I will have a part, no matter how small, in helping people have safer, cleaner water,” Beach said.

While at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Beach has also been a member of The Laurel Society, Chemistry Department Honor Corps, and on the governing board of the Chemistry Student Association. Last year, she represented Hobart and William Smith Colleges at the Conference on College Composition and Communication National Writing Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., 2000. She also has been a news contributor for the Colleges newspaper, The Herald, and was former editor of the arts and entertainment section.

Beach is the daughter of John and Gayle Beach of Eldred. She is a 1998 graduate of Eldred High School.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are coordinate, private, liberal arts institutions, located in Geneva, N.Y. in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The Colleges, which have a combined enrollment of 1,800, offer a remarkably broad array of majors and minors, with a cross-disciplinary flavor intended to better inform both professional and intellectual pursuits. The Colleges are noted also for an ambitious emphasis on international study, and for their programs in community service. Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women share faculty, facilities, and curriculum, but maintain separate dean's offices, athletic programs, student governments, and traditions.
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