- Posted August 16, 2013 by
Arnold Air Force Base, Tennessee
Summer intern switches between crown and hard hat
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. – When you spy this fourth-year intern on base, she’s likely to be wearing jeans, a T-shirt, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses, and a hard hat. Away from Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) she trades the jeans for a bit of glitz and glamor and the hard hat makes way for a crown.
Each summer the complex’s prime operating contractor Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) welcomes interns in a variety of science, technology, engineering and math fields. Only one of those, Dacey Winkleman, is a winner of the prestigious Dr. Joseph J. Jacobs Global Scholarship and a member of the Miss America Organization. Winkleman returned for her final year as an intern with the ATA Industrial Hygiene Division – this time as the reigning Miss Chattanooga.
Winkleman’s typical AEDC workday starts with a variety of field work including meeting with workers for a review of confined space entry procedures, required ventilation methods and other control measures. Her next assignment may involve a trip to the Dispensary where she assists with inventory and administrative support. Back in the office, she conducts scheduled respirator fit testing and training.
Much of her time is devoted to the AEDC Mosquito Surveillance Program. This effort involves hours sitting in the lab studying mosquitoes through a microscope. Asked what she looks for, Winkleman explained, “Mosquito surveillance has been going on at AEDC for several years. This year it began in early June with traps being placed at various sites. These are checked weekly and usually contain a large number of midges, a harmless mosquito look-alike which must be separated from the mosquitoes.”
“Next, we determine the sex of the mosquitoes and separate the males from the females. Females are the biters – the ones that spread disease. They’re shipped to Wright Patterson where an Air Force entomologist identifies the genus species to determine if they are significant in the spread of disease. Only a small percentage of those trapped last year were considered vectors of diseases.”
“This range of field and lab activities has allowed me to meet and interact with a variety of personnel and has helped develop my communication and people skills,” Winkleman added. “These will be beneficial throughout the remainder of my education and into my career.”
Mark Jenkins, ATA Risk Manager and Industrial Hygiene Group Lead, said, “Dacey is a pleasure to work with. We have enjoyed watching her grow professionally summer by summer. She started her internship supporting field work and getting acclimated with the operations at the Chemical Lab and Dispensary and she was typically accompanied by a coworker, an extra set of eyes. As she has grown in experience and comfort level, she has developed the field safety and hygiene smarts needed to look out for herself and others, and her solo time in the field as a Safety and Industrial Hygiene consultant has increased.”
Jenkins added, “She provides value to our organization by performing confined space entry and facility assessments, analyzing data and writing technical reports, and fit-testing workers for respirator use. She also plans ways to ‘work safe’ through discussions with her peers and the workers she supports and with a JSA or JSR. I don’t know what the future holds for her; the sky is probably the limit, but I know we miss her at the end of each summer.”
As Miss Chattanooga, Winkleman is an official representative of the Miss America Organization for various activities across southern middle Tennessee. In addition to various local sporting events and parades, she has made appearances speaking in support of the Children’s Miracle Network and serves as a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Recently the Miss America Organization adopted a national platform of encouraging young women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. In support of this platform, Winkleman represented the organization as guest speaker at the 2013 Chattanooga Science and Engineering Regional Fair. For her, it was a return to the site where she was a two-time Junior Division Grand Champion as a student at North Junior High in Franklin County.
Winkleman is already on the STEM career path. She is a senior honor student majoring in Molecular Biology at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, where she is Head Majorette, 2012 Homecoming Queen and a member of Chi Omega. Her professional goal is to obtain a doctorate and establish a career in medical technologies research. To those who know her well, it’s no surprise that Winkleman was honored for academic excellence in June at the Miss Tennessee Pageant where she received the Miss America State Academic Award.
For her talent in the Miss Tennessee Pageant, Winkleman performed a baton-twirling routine to the song “River Deep, Mountain High.” She said her grandmother, who is in her 90s, was her high school’s first baton twirler and helped pick the song for the routine. “She watched online from Ohio,” Winkleman noted.
Childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is Winkleman’s platform and she actively supports awareness of this issue through her campaign “OCD is not as easy as 1-2-3.” She has started a support group for families whose children have this disorder and has hosted seminars and visited Chattanooga area schools to work with teachers and children to help raise awareness.
When asked what she valued most from her Miss Tennessee pageant experiences she replied, “I met many nice people from across the state and became close to a few. I had so much in common with some; I’m sure we will be life-long friends.” She added that the variety of people she met and the experiences she shared will help her throughout life, and noted that the judges’ questions and evaluations have taught her to see various aspects of herself in new ways and provided guidance for improvement.
Winkleman has family ties with AEDC. Her brother Kyle served four years as an ATA intern with the Advanced Missile Signature Center, and her father, Dr. Brad Winkleman is a research physicist with the ATA Technology and Analysis Branch.
Winkleman’s father and mother, Jo-Ann, currently reside in Moore County.
Caption for Image 130701-O-0000U-002: Dacey Winkleman, an ATA Industrial Hygiene intern at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), smiles for the camera during a photo shoot as Miss Chattanooga. (Photo by Kristy Belcher)
Caption for Image 130701-O-0000U-003: Dacey Winkleman, an ATA Industrial Hygiene intern at AEDC, is crowned Miss Chattanooga by Chandler Lawson, Miss Tennessee 2012. (Photo provided)
Caption for Image 130701-O-0000U-004: Dacey Winkleman’s parents show their support after Dacey received the Miss America Organization academic scholarship for the State of Tennessee. Shown left to right is Dacey’s mother Jo-Ann Winkleman, Dacey, and Dr. Brad Winkleman, a research physicist with the ATA Technology and Analysis Branch at AEDC. Dacey’s parents reside in Moore County. (Photo provided)
Caption for Image 130613-F-RS654-005: ATA Industrial Hygiene’s intern/engineering technician Dacey Winkleman, left, reviews confined space entry procedures and air monitoring with boilermaker journeyman Stevi Sullivan (center) and lead boilermaker Howard Nichols (right) at the complex’s Aeropropulsion Systems Test Facility for turbine engine testing. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)