Why I Give: Millersville Alumna Establishes New OSEH Scholarship

Millersville University alumna Nancy Adams ’73 had an enriching and successful career in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Recently, she created the N. C. Adams ’73 and W. G. Adams Fellowship for students majoring and minoring in Occupational Safety and Environmental Health. In doing so, she helped to forge a partnership between the OSEH program and the Lombardo College of Business to create a one-of-a-kind education program in Pennsylvania.

Adams was one of the first women to work in OSHA after Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. At that time, they were hiring inspection staff with a science background. Thanks to her time at Millersville studying biology and with the encouragement of her brother, Adams began her OSHA career in Albany, New York. “OSHA provided me with an absolutely wonderful career. There was no other job like it,” Adams said. “I traveled and worked throughout the U.S. on special assignments and task forces. I was part of a ‘younger,’ nationwide set of folks who were at the forefront of OSHA’s use of information technology and the internet.”

As one of the first women to work for OSHA, Adams found the field to be both exciting and challenging. “Because OSHA is a law enforcement agency, I had the law behind me when walking into mostly male-dominated workplaces,” Adams said. “I found that even as a young woman, if I engaged people in conversation and asked a lot of questions about what they were doing, they appreciated why I was there and took me seriously. However, in the early 1970s, finding protective gear that actually fit me was a whole different story.”

After 33 years serving in roles from compliance officer to director of management systems and operations, Adams ended her career in Washington, D.C. — though she never stopped investing in up-and-coming OSEH professionals. Adams serves on the University’s OSEH advisory board, which provides guidance and counsel for the OSEH program and its students.

A partnership between OSEH and the Lombardo College of Business allows students majoring in OSEH or in management to pursue a specialization in the other program.

“This opportunity is designed to foster the natural collaboration between the areas of business and occupational safety and health,” explained Dr. Jack Ogutu, the OSEH program coordinator.

In addition, Adams created the N. C. Adams ’73 and W. G. Adams Endowed Professorship. Ogutu will serve a three-year term as the inaugural Adams Endowed Professor beginning July 1. He will oversee enhancing scholarship activities, fostering faculty-student research, organizing on-campus and off-campus co-curricular events, and establishing internship opportunities for students in the program.

That collaboration between business and occupational safety is exactly why Adams created the fellowship and professorship.

“To create this type of partnership is unique to Millersville,” Adams said. “I have a very long-held belief that until safety and health professionals and corporate management gain a real understanding of both sides, workplace safety and health will continue to be looked at as a non-value-added contribution to a company’s bottom line.”

“The goal of this fellowship is to provide an educational opportunity to advance effective means for both OSEH professionals and company managers to better communicate what each can bring to the table to achieve a safer work environment and quality goods and services,” she explained.

Her advice to current MU students is this: “Never turn down an opportunity to learn something new. Even if at the time you think it is beneath or beyond your abilities … or even if you see no connection to how the experience might benefit you in the future, eventually it will.”

– Originally published in the Millersville Review, June 16, 2022.

Ville Robotics Team Has Standout Showing at International Robotics Competition

The Ville Robotics team went, saw, and conquered (almost) this year’s 29th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) at Oakland University in Michigan.

Ville Robotics left everything on the course. With on-site sensor tuning to last-minute code tweaks to late-night tech retrofits, they pushed every step of the way. And it showed: the team brought back four awards, including 1st to Qualify, 2nd in Design, 6th in Performance, and 4th Overall. These results culminate hundreds of hours of engineering design, development, testing, and refining by the AEST department’s student team members and faculty advisors over the past four months.

The IGVC AutoNav competition requires undergraduate and graduate teams to design, build, and program a fully autonomous robot to navigate a course, stay within a lane, not hit obstacles, and head to GPS waypoints. These constraints and criteria push teams to develop on the cutting-edge of autonomous vehicle design.

Ville Robotics entered two robots into the AutoNav competition: A.Li.E.N. 2.0 and A.Li.E.N. 3.0 (A.Li.E.N. stands for Autonomous LiDAR-Based Environment Navigator). A.Li.E.N. 2.0’s control was distributed with smart sensors (LiDAR, Machine Vision, and GPS/Compass) connected to a 32-bit microcontroller. A.Li.E.N. 3.0 was controlled via a pc-based Robot Operating System (ROS) that mapped the course and path-planned its movements using a LiDAR, camera, GPS, and wheel encoders. While 3.0 did not qualify this year, it made 4/5 qualifying checkpoints and was a great testbed for next year’s competition in 2023.

Ville Robotics again showcased their engineering skill alongside large state, national, and international engineering universities, many of whom are household names inside and outside technical circles. A few of Millersville University’s 21 competitors included Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Oklahoma University, Cedarville University, Penn State University, The Indian Institute of Technology, Hosei University – Japan, Rutgers University, Lawrence Technological University, University of Toronto, The University of Newfoundland.

It is noteworthy that this year was only Ville Robotics’ second time competing at IGVC. The first was in 2019, in which they failed to qualify. This year the team outperformed their last showing and was in contention to place on the podium for the overall award, a feat that illustrates the depth of their technical skill and team resolve. Congratulations to the universities who made the podium: Cedarville University – 1st, University of Oklahoma – 2nd, Hosei University (Japan) – 3rd.

Also, a special thanks to our team sponsors: Millersville University of Pennsylvania (AEST, SGA, OGSPR) and Phoenix Contact for travel support. And Todd Echterling for donating the wheelchair base!

Below is Ville Robotics’ longest run on the course (164′). Even though A.Li.E.N. 2.0 got turned around, it traversed the sixth farthest on the course of any of the 22 robots in the competition!

A.Li.E.N. Competes in Michigan

Ville Robotics Team Has Standout Showing at International Robotics Competition. The Ville Robotics Team Competed in the 29th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition at Oakland University in Michigan.https://blogs.millersville.edu/aest/

–  Contributed by Dr. John Haughery