Community Engagement Core

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The Community Engagement Core (CEC) works to address environmental concerns by partnering with the community to identify and discuss issues, developing intervention and prevention strategies and plans, integrating activities with ongoing educational programs, and sharing findings from research. Specific aims include:

Aim 1: Engage East Chicago and Columbus Junction junior high students with health science and engineering education programs that highlight the sources, remediation, and human impacts of PCBS

Activities over the past year have involved disseminating the inquiry-based, airborne PCB lesson materials provided in science classrooms at Columbus Junction Junior High School (Iowa) and East Chicago Junior High School (Indiana), expanding and tailoring this curriculum to the learning levels of 6th-9th graders enrolled in the Junior Scholars Institute Camp coordinated by the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, and community partner visits and tours of the ISRP labs.

A long-standing partnership with Columbus Junction has led to partnership interest from a nearby community, West Liberty. CEC continues to meet with leaders and agencies who can encourage new directions and enforcements pertaining to PCB concerns and remediation in schools across the nation.

For more information about PCBs and schools, please visit our Links page.

Aim 2: Address community needs regarding the impacts of dredging in East Chicago, Indiana, in terms of potential airborne PCB sources, remediation strategies, human impacts, and relative health risk

CEC continues to engage the East Chicago Junior High School and Superintendent Paige McNulty as they continue their light replacement project. There are initial discussions for ISRP to measure PCB levels in East Chicago schools once the project is complete. Read more about this project at:     

CEC is working with AESOP Study graduate student researchers Ezazul Haque (third from right in picture), Maggie Moran, and project leader Peter Thorne to address rising community concerns in East Chicago of environmental exposure to lead and arsenic.

Aim 3: Facilitate engagement activities with the town of Altavista, Virginia, and the environmental remediation firm, Ecolotree, Inc.

The CEC is continuing to explore futher engagement activities with AltaVista.


Craig Just, PhD, Core Leader

Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Iowa. Dr. Just has a broad and long-standing experience in engagement. He guided the development of the Public Engagement Grant Program that commenced at the University of Iowa in 2011. His commitment to engagement was acknowledged in 2010 with the David Skorton Award for Staff Excellence in Public Service. He co-directs the UI Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement.

Scott Spak, PhD

Dr. Spak is the core leader of the Research Translation Core of the isrp and assists with the closely related Community Engagement Core.