Edward (Eddie) Meek has taken a unique path to obtaining his PhD in Environmental Toxicology, maneuvering a somewhat unconventional route to complete his studies. It has been a long but rewarding journey for Meek, who works full-time as a Laboratory Manager for Center for Environmental Health Sciences at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (MSU-CVM).
After completing his undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University in 1999, Meek went on to pursuing his master’s degree at MSU-CVM.
“At the time, I was looking at four other opportunities and had intentions of leaving Starkville with a job lined up at a federal laboratory,” Meek said.
Funding fell through for that federal position at the last minute, and Meek found himself coming back to MSU, where there were a few research associate positions available. While interviewing for one of the positions, Dr. Janice Chambers, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, had a position open up for a research associate. She suggested Meek apply for that position and he did. After being offered the job, Meek decided to take it.
“I took the position with Dr. Chambers not knowing what career opportunities would lie ahead,” Meek said. “It was an opportunity to increase my laboratory techniques, while still being in the toxicology research field.”
After a few years of working in the position, Chambers encouraged him to start taking classes again, so Meek applied to a PhD program. Around the same time, Chambers determined that she needed to hire a laboratory manager. Meek applied for the position, was offered it, and worked the position while continuing to take classes and complete research for his PhD on his own time.
“I had to manage my time well and work diligently toward my goal, because I was working a full-time job and taking classes,” Meek said. “It fluctuated over time on how much opportunity I had to work on it, and it was a slow and arduous process.”
While it took him nearly six years to complete his degree, Meek is now finished with his studies. His dissertation was accepted and will officially have a PhD in Environmental Toxicology as of August 2018.
“It’s not the typical track that most people take, but the opportunity was there, and so I have gotten my BS, MS, and PhD all from Mississippi State University,” Meek said. “I love this university and have dedicated my career here. It was nice to be able to continue my education while still working.”
After graduation, Meek intends to stay on in his current position, Laboratory Manager for the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, where he works with neuro-toxicology.