The spring 2016 Maxwell Bempong Environmental Science Lecture, sponsored by the Norfolk State biology department, will deal with a very timely topic this semester . . . clean drinking water. With national headlines focusing on lead contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, the topic of safe drinking water is top-of-mind and stamped in the nation’s psyche. Jamie Heisig-Mitchell, the chief of technical services for the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), will talk about a groundbreaking HRSD project touted to ensure our region has the best water possible now and in the future. The lecture series takes place at NSU on Thurs., March 17, at 11 a.m. Heisig-Mitchell will speak with a botany class in the morning and address a public gathering at 2 p.m. Heisig-Mitchell will also lead a career services opportunities reception at 3 p.m.
The HRSD project, titled the Sustainable Water Recycling Initiative, was conceived by the agency. The initiative creates a sustainable water source to meet current and future groundwater needs throughout eastern Virginia and at the same time, improve water quality in local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. “HRSD representatives attended the lecture series last year and contacted me for an opportunity to talk to NSU students about career opportunities,” said Dr. Camellia Okpodu, biology professor. “We do this each semester,” she said. The lecture series is broken up into two sections . . . one for her biology classes and one for the university community. “HRSD has many career opportunities available, and not just for biologists.”
The Maxwell Bempong Environmental Science Lecture was created to bring speakers to campus that are knowledgeable on various issues related to the environment and national security. The series began in 2003 and was developed in honor of Dr. Maxwell Bempong, one of the few black toxicologists in the country.