In what marked a return to his hometown of Newton, Lucien Swetschinski joined the Silent Spring team in the summer of 2015 as a research assistant. He is currently applying his expertise in data analysis and data management to analyze the efficacy of fire safety methods that don’t rely on flame retardants chemicals—such as smoke detectors—in preventing fire casualties in Massachusetts. He is also investigating exposures to chemicals from consumer products and building materials on college campuses and in public housing.
Lucien graduated from Oberlin College as a Phi Beta Kappa inductee with bachelor degrees in both neuroscience and economics. As part of his work in neuroscience, Lucien used animal models to investigate the relationship between dysfunction in the brain’s GABA neurotransmitter system and symptoms of social withdrawal, a classic example of a negative symptom of schizophrenia. For his thesis in economics, Lucien designed a panel dataset to assess the influence of the private prison industry’s political expenditures on state incarceration rates. Studying these divergent subjects satisfied Lucien’s curiosity to learn both about the hard sciences and the methodologies used to evaluate the social impact of legislative and commercial activity.
Lucien was drawn to Silent Spring by the organization’s commitment to reducing the incidence of breast cancer. As someone striving to achieve environmental justice, Lucien is eager to use the skills he honed as an undergraduate to identify opportunities to improve environmental public health. In his free time, Lucien, an avid learner who probably spends too much time on Wikipedia, enjoys practicing percussion, hiking with his friends, and doing his best to follow American politics.