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Crispin Pierce receives Fulbright Scholar award for Finland

RELEASED: June 6, 2011

Crispin Pierce
Dr. Crispin Pierce

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty member Dr. Crispin Pierce, associate professor of environmental public health, is one of only a handful in the state to recently receive Fulbright Scholar awards.

"I am honored to receive the award and look forward to using this international experience to benefit my students and interdisciplinary research at UW-Eau Claire," Pierce said. "I frequently encourage students to take internships across the United States, to study abroad or to serve with international organizations like the Peace Corps. I also realize how much faculty can grow from such experiences."

Pierce will teach and conduct research at the University of Eastern Finland in spring 2012. He plans to study the exposure of Finnish children to heavy metals and impacts on health. Pierce also will work to re-establish Scandinavian connections for future student internships and shared research.

"Finnish culture includes respect for environmental resources, close scrutiny of food supplies and a broad commitment to the health of all citizens," Pierce said. "Analysis of Finnish children's hair could help identify how differences in diet, activities within the home, parents' occupations, etc. contribute to heavy metal exposure."

In his previous research on heavy metals in children's hair, Pierce found many environmental factors that played a role, including gender, home age, dental fillings, chemicals in well water and fish consumption.

UW-Eau Claire has had four other Fulbright scholars since 2007. At a recent campus Fulbright information session, faculty shared their Fulbright experiences and suggestions for developing a competitive proposal. The highly competitive and prestigious Fulbright Program sends 800 U.S. faculty and professionals abroad each year to lecture and conduct research.

Pierce has been a UW-Eau Claire faculty member since 2003. He has mentored graduate and undergraduate students while conducting research on factors that may lead to overexposure of children to heavy metals, antibiotic resistant bacteria and toxicokinetics.

UW-Eau Claire's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs provides a select list of national and international fellowship opportunities on its website. Faculty and academic staff who are interested in fellowships are invited to contact ORSP for assistance at orsp@uwec.edu or 715-836-3405.

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HJS/JP/DW

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