Four environmental health science majors at East Central University have been selected to participate in federal externships through the U.S. Public Health Service's Commissioned Officer Student Training Extern Program (COSTEP).
Billy Porter of Ada (from left), Tyler Jackson of Lilburn, Ga., Mistin Ray of Choctaw and Paul Eaton of Yukon, all students at East Central University, will begin federal externships this month through the U.S. Public Health Service's Commissioned Officer Student Training Extern Program (COSTEP). They will be commissioned as ensigns during their three-month tours.
The Commissioned Corps is one of the seven uniformed services and is led by the surgeon general of the United States.
The students who will start their assignments in May are Mistin Ray, a junior from Choctaw, assigned to the Indian Health Service (IHS) in Fairbanks, Alaska; Billy Porter, a junior from Ada, assigned to the IHS in Santa Fe, N.M.; Tyler Jackson, a junior from Lilburn, Ga., assigned to the Navajo Area IHS in Fort Defiance, Ariz.; and Paul Eaton, a junior from Yukon, assigned to the Oklahoma City Area IHS.
They will be commissioned as ensigns during their three-month tours.
An externship is one of ECU's requirements for completing a degree in environmental health science.
The selection process into the COSTEP program is highly competitive. Only students from accredited undergraduate programs in environmental health science like ECU's are eligible to participate, said Dr. Patrick O. Bohan, ECU associate professor of environmental health science and a retired captain in the USPHS.
Bohan said being selected for these programs demonstrates the quality of the ECU students and the excellent reputation of the ECU Environmental Health Science program.
"Our students have a well-rounded education in the field of environmental health science that includes much of what employers need," he said.
ECU students learn about theory and practice in such areas as occupational health and safety, food protection, air and water quality, hazardous waste, toxicology, community health and epidemiology.
"Each of these students has an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand experience in their discipline while working for a top-notch agency," Bohan said. "We are very proud of their accomplishments and know they will represent ECU very well. This opportunity also has excellent career possibilities for the students."
The ECU Environmental Health Science Program has placed more graduates in the environmental health category of the Commissioned Corps than any other institution in the country, he said.
To learn more about the Environmental Health Sciences Program at ECU, contact Dr. Doug Weirick, department chair, at 580-559-5548.
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