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CMAST Renames Summer Fellows Program to Honor Dr. Patricia McClellan-Green

Patricia McClellan-Green

Courtesy of the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology

NC State University recently renamed the CMAST Summer Fellows Program the Dr. Patricia McClellan-Green Summer Fellows Program at CMAST (Center for Marine Sciences and Technology), after Professor of Toxicology Patricia McClellan-Green, who passed away in May 2014 after a brief illness.

“Pat was an integral part of our CMAST family,” said Dr. David Eggleston, Director of CMAST. “Naming the CMAST Summer Fellows Program after Pat recognizes her dedication and commitment to all students and enthusiastic support of educational excellence at CMAST.”

While working at CMAST, McClellan-Green served as the undergraduate student coordinator from 2005-2014 and managed the CMAST Summer Fellows Program from 2005-2009 and 2011-2013. She supervised over 75 undergraduate independent study projects over her career, which began in 1989 as a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Integrated Toxicology Program at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC.

Established in 2005, the CMAST Summer Fellows Program supports summer interns working at CMAST. The 10-week-long summer program is available to any university or community college undergraduate student, as well as rising seniors in Carteret County or area high schools. Students are provided a stipend and assigned a mentor to help design an independent study project as part of ongoing research at CMAST with graduate students and professional staff. The students must write up a final report and give oral presentations of their results. Summer Fellows work alongside other undergraduate and graduate students working at CMAST.

Some of the first Summer Fellows (2005) included Averi Henderson from Croatan High School, who later received her undergraduate degree from NC State University, and Jennifer Nicholls from West Carteret High School, who graduated from Appalachian State University and received her law degree from UNC Chapel Hill with a specialty in forensic sciences.

Weston Smith, now a Post-Doctorate Research Associate at the UNC School of Pharmacy, was one of the 2006 Summer Fellows. He found Pat’s instruction and attention to his work to be life-changing. “All scientists owe a great debt to the mentors who provided them with early opportunities and guidance. Pat gave me my first independent research project as a sophomore in college and later assisted me when I applied to graduate school. I will always be grateful to her for giving me a great start in my scientific career.”

McClellan-Green moved to CMAST in 2000 as Assistant Research Professor and continued her research in environmental and molecular toxicology of marine systems.  Her research interests spanned snails to sea turtles, where she addressed important environmental issues such as the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, consequences of oxidative stress, toxicity of marine anti-foulants and chemical biotransformation processes in marine organisms. She cared deeply about the effect these toxins on human life and the environment, and worked tirelessly to expand her knowledge in these areas of study. She continued working on research projects with students and colleagues at the Duke Marine Lab as an Adjunct Research Professor.

McClellan-Green was also a nurturing and inspirational force (as well as a tough taskmaster) for graduate students fortunate enough to study under her. She was graduate committee chair and member for over 20 PhD and MS students from NC State University, Duke University, East Carolina University and the University of Georgia. She was an active member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology at both national and local levels serving as president (2007) for the Carolinas Regional Chapter of SETAC.

Jennifer (Keller) Lynch, also a former Summer Fellow, credits McClellan-Green with having a profound effect on her career: “Pat was my academic mentor, my personal cheerleader and my lifelong coach. She helped me to achieve my dreams of working in science. Without Pat’s encouragement and support, I would not be where I am today.” Lynch is currently a Research Biologist, Chemical Sciences Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, US Pacific Islands Region, Hawaii.