AMHERST, Mass. – C. Marjorie Aelion has been named the new dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The announcement was made by Charlena Seymour, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. Aelion will begin her new duties Jan. 1, 2009.
Since 2006, Aelion served as associate dean for research at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She is also an alumna of UMass Amherst and received a Fulbright Advanced Student Award to carry out research in France as a senior undergraduate honors student at UMass.
Robert C. Holub, UMass Amherst chancellor, welcomed the appointment of Aelion. “She is a talented and highly skilled individual who will help us move this university into the top ranks of the nation’s public research schools,” Holub says. “We are very pleased she is joining our administration.”
Seymour says Aelion will bring solid leadership to the School of Public Health and Health Sciences: “We’re looking forward to her arrival and the energy and commitment she will bring to this important school on our campus.” Seymour also expressed appreciation, on behalf of the campus, to Nancy Cohen who will continue to serve as interim SPHHS dean until Aelion’s appointment takes effect.
Aelion says, “The School of Public Health and Health Sciences has great potential and I am honored to be chosen to work with the faculty, staff and students to realize that potential. I look forward to becoming an integral part of the UMass community, which has been so welcoming to me. In many ways, I feel I am coming home.”
Aelion’s research is in the area of environmental contamination. She received the National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, one of 30 awarded nationally in all fields, in 1993. She currently has a National Institutes of Health R01 research award in collaboration with a faculty member in the School of Medicine at the University of South Carolina to examine metals in soils and their potential associations with children’s health outcomes. She has received funding from several federal agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Aelion served as graduate director for the University of South Carolina’s environmental health sciences department from 2003-06. In 2002 she was a Fulbright Faculty Scholar as well as a visiting professor at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and at the ?cole Polytechnique F?d?rale de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland. She has been a professor of environmental health sciences at South Carolina since 2001 and was an associate professor from 1997-2001 and assistant professor from 1991-97. Aelion was also the assistant director of the Marine Science Program from 1999-2000.
In 1997 Aelion was a visiting scientist at Chelyabinsk State Technical University in Russia, and in 1995 she was a visiting scientist at Irkutsk State University in Russia. She has been an associated faculty member of the School of the Environment at South Carolina since 1995 and an associated faculty member with the Marine Science Program since 1993. Aelion was an appointed faculty member at U.S. Geological Survey in Columbia, S.C., from 1991-94 and was a hydrologist from the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division in Columbia, S.C., from 1988-91.
Aelion is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Public Health Association, and the Association of Environmental Engineers and Science Professors. She also is a lifetime member of the American Geophysical Union and the Society of Women Engineers, and is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. She is a managing editor for the journal Biodegradation.
Aelion earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from UMass Amherst in 1980, a master’s degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983, and a doctorate in environmental chemistry and biology from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health at Chapel Hill in 1988.