[masterslider_pb id="29"] Imagine traveling nearly 5,000 miles to a place where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty. Imagine working on the front lines of one of the worst outbreaks of one of the planet’s deadliest diseases, witnessing the heartbreak on the faces of those impacted by Ebola. Imagine volunteering to do it, knowing that your life will be at risk every day. 'My parents questioned my sanity' Now you know what two Colorado State University alumni experienced as part of Center for Disease Control’s Team 5 when they spent November and part of December in Bo, Sierra Leone, testing thousands of blood samples for the presence of Ebola. “I have to say, my parents did question my sanity,” said Brandy Russell, who volunteered to be part of a team working in Bo, Sierra Leone, testing thousands of blood samples for the presence of Ebola. “But when this opportunity came up I jumped at the chance. I don’t get to do much field work, and I wanted the chance to see how public health works on the front lines.” Russell, who works in the CDC lab in Fort Collins, and Tara Sealy, a CSU alum who works in the agency’s Atlanta office, made up two of the four members of Team 5. Together they formed the first – and to this point, only – all-female team to run the CDC’s Ebola testing lab on the front lines of the epidemic in Bo. Record-setting team Team 5 set records for the most Ebola samples processed in one day (162); the most samples tested in 21 days (2,012); and the most samples tested in 28 days - about 2,700. The records still stand. “It was really a good team,” Sealy said. “I had worked with two of the women (Angie Sanchez and Aridth Gibbons) in Atlanta, but none of us knew Brandy, who was a volunteer. We made a really good team both in the lab and in our down time. It was a real honor to work with them.” Falling in love with microbiology at CSU Sealy’s journey to Sierra Leone was almost predestined. After graduating from Douglas County High School in Castle Rock, she came to CSU in 1999 to study microbiology, quickly falling in love with the program. “The microbiology department at CSU was fantastic,” she said. “I learned a lot of really valuable lessons, and I had some great professors. Erica Suchman (a professor of microbiology) is a great teacher and really got me enthusiastic about microbiology.” Sealy was introduced to the Fort Collins CDC lab as a work study, researching the plague. She was hired to a full-time position after graduating in 2002, then transferred to the CDC’s headquarters outside Atlanta, where she studies viral special pathogens such as Ebola. Extensive work on the front lines She did field work in Angola during a Marburg virus outbreak in 2005, and has since made several trips to Uganda for Marburg outbreaks. She has also spent time in Guinea doing Ebola testing. She first traveled to Sierra Leone in August, spending four weeks doing testing as part of a three-member team in Kenema, the third-largest city in Sierra Leone. That’s when she realized a dream she’s had for many years. “I’m sure it sounds a little crazy, but this is what I’ve always wanted to do: work on the front lines of a major outbreak of Ebola in Africa,” she said. “I wanted to be able to help people in a time of crisis while studying this disease.” Fort Collins CDC lab links CSU alums Russell and Sealy didn’t know each other at CSU, although they figured out that they had probably shared a class or two. Russell majored in biology, which is part of the College of Natural Sciences, while microbiology is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, so their paths didn’t often cross during their three years together on campus.
Ajay Menon talks about technology, collaboration and the transformative power of business.
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The Virtuoso Series at the University Center for the Arts continues in March with a special interactive performance from CSU’s renowned recital clarinetist Wesley Ferreira and guest New York pianist Daniel Fung.
Colorado State University is offering an online Integrated Sustainability Management badge and certificate program.
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To help instructors become familiar with the system, a number of Canvas training opportunities are available now, in a variety of formats to cater to different learning styles and preferences.
Two CSU juniors, Kalyn Taylor and Jason Sydoriak, were named finalists for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a nationally competitive scholarship that recognizes students who demonstrate "exceptional leadership potential" and are "committed to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service.”