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Environmental Factor, October 2012

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Stokes inducted as Board Certified Environmental Scientist

By Eddy Ball

Rear Adm. William Stokes, D.V.M.,

Stokes is the sole member of the U.S. Public Health Service to become a BCES. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NTP center director Rear Adm. William Stokes, D.V.M., was selected as one of the inaugural 21-member class of Board Certified Environmental Scientists (BCESs). The announcement appeared in Environmental Engineer, the quarterly publication of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE), which bestows the prestigious certification on environmental professionals.

“These highly qualified individuals were accepted into the Academy by unanimous vote during our spring Board of Trustee’s meeting,” wrote AAEE Immediate Past President Brian Flynn. “Their admission signals the beginning of our process to recognize the distinct and vital talents of environmental professionals: engineers and scientists working together to protect the environment today and our legacy tomorrow.” 

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Stokes serves as director of the NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), and executive director of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods, which provide scientific support and coordinate interagency initiatives for advancing new safety testing methods, including those that can replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in toxicity testing. In addition to his AAEE certification, Stokes holds certification as a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. He studied environmental and biomedical engineering at the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed Scientific School, before attending the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

“This honor reflects well on Bill’s achievements in environmental public health and the promotion of alternative testing methods,” said NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. “I am gratified to see that his accomplishments are being recognized by his selection as a member of the first group of BCESs.”

A new kind of certification

The BCES certification represents a broadening by AAEE in the range of its validation services. The idea of expanding the Academy’s certification mission to include environmental scientists arose from discussions in the early spring of 2010, which led to its implementation in November 2011. AAEE certifications are internationally recognized as premium credentials that are awarded to experienced professionals who have demonstrated expertise in one or more areas of specialization.

The basic premise was that, since most of the organizations that employ Academy members utilize environmental engineers and environmental scientists on multidisciplinary teams to solve environmental problems, it would be useful for AAEE to certify both. In this way, the Academy can offer the users of environmental services and environmental employers a full range of professional certification services.

The inaugural class of BCESs reflects the range of members — scientists working in the academic, government, foundation, and private sectors as biologists, chemists, geologists, hydrologists, and toxicologists — dedicated to protecting environmental public health. Stokes, who is the only veterinarian, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toxicologist Bruce Macler, Ph.D., are sole federal scientists in the new class of BCESs.

Like their engineering colleagues, BCESs must have at least eight years of professional experience and demonstrate high ethical integrity, before they can be considered as candidates by the AAEE Admissions Committee. Following approval as a candidate, in most cases, an aspiring board-certified environmental professional must stand for written and oral examinations.

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