The Chemistry of EHS Mentoring

As a child, Scott Kelsey never missed an episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy. The Research Associate loved the half-hour action science program on PBS.

“It was really funny, but you learned a lot of interesting things, too,” Kelsey said. “I remember we would record episodes, and it was a really good science communication show for kids.”

Scott has been hooked on science ever since and has made his passion a priority. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from Kent State University and his Master of Science in Ecology from Ohio State.

After graduation, he spent time as a lab manager and technician at Wright State University and then returned to Ohio State in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. As a research technician for Dr. Alison Bennett, Scott now runs experiments, works on projects, logistics, lab inventory, purchasing and helps students.

His success as a researcher did not come without assistance. Scott is a participant in the EHS Laboratory Manager Mentoring Program that helps connect new lab managers with experts in the field who have experience in overseeing laboratory operations and safety management. The program matches perspective lab manager mentees with lab manager mentors who may work in the same department or building or who may have similar lab environments or research interests. 

“Several things attracted me to the program,” Scott said. “I could start talking to people who manage labs and learn more about how to keep lab members involved and motivated.”

Scott saw an advertisement for the program, and that’s when he was matched with his lab mentor and fellow Research Associate, Sarah Reeder. She has worked at Ohio State for eleven years.

“I called her up and she met me at our lab,” Scott said. “She’s an experienced person who I can come to and get some advice on how to handle certain situations and how to keep things running smoothly.”

“When I saw their advertisement for it, I realized I’ve been doing EHS safety stuff for labs for more than ten years now,” Reeder said. “I have a lot of information that I’ve compiled during the years and figured it would be a great way to share that knowledge.” 

EHS pairs mentors with mentees based on their similar backgrounds. One of the reasons Reeder says she was matched with Scott is because he has a plant lab and she has worked with plants for years.

“I know a lot about how to work with plants, how to carefully bag them, where to grow them and where to dry them,” Reeder said.

“I never had experience growing plants in the greenhouse,” Scott said. “That was really helpful to talk to her about the kind of struggles she expects when she’s doing these large-scale greenhouse studies and what we can expect.”

“It was a great way to share information not just regarding safety, but efficient lab practices and how to get equipment, how to share space and also how to organize a host of undergraduates, graduates and post-docs,” Reeder said.

Scott says he would like to give back and become a lab mentor someday.

“It can be kind of daunting to figure out the ropes, and I’m more than happy to pay it forward for all of the kindness, help and generosity that other people have shown me,” Scott said. 

If you’re interested in becoming a lab manager mentor or mentee, visit Contact Holly Ferris with any questions.