STEMM Idol: Rachel Easter & Keshia Kinney

In conjunction with World Water Day, Rachel Easter and Keshia Kinney, who work in the City of Dayton Water Department, shared their expertise about water safety and distribution with students as part of the STEMM Idol Speaker Series on Tuesday, March 22.

Easter is a Water Bacteriologist-Chemist at the Water Department. She was the Trotwood-Madison High School Salutatorian and graduated in 2009. She received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Forensic Science and Chemistry from Trine University in 2012. Easter has been working at the City of Dayton Water Department for almost two years.

Kinney is a Water Treatment Technical Supervisor at the Water Department. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Health Sciences from Wright State University in 2001 and stayed at Wright State to earn her Master's of Science in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2004. Kinney has been with the City of Dayton Water Department since 2005. She began as a Water Chemist/Bacteriologist and became a Water Treatment Technical Supervisor in 2013.

During their presentation, the women gave students an in-depth look at how water is distributed in the City of Dayton and to most of Montgomery County.

"I think they were surprised to learn that Dayton provides most of the drinking water to the county," Easter said.

Kinney shared with the students steps the city takes to protect its water. She added that while all Dayton water is tested regularly, at two city plants, the water is tested 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"As a public health professional, it's your job to make sure that you protect public health," Kinney shared. "If you're not protecting public health, you're not doing your job. Not to mention, most of us drink this water, so you would also be putting yourself and your family at risk."

Easter demonstrated students part of her job, which is identifying if there are unsafe materials in the water. She used a fluorescent light to show what water would look like if it had e-coli in it.

"Every single day I get to see the impact of my work and know that I help prevent anything bad getting into the water," Easter noted.

Both women agreed that students interested in getting into the water treatment field should begin by going to college.

Kinney said, "Students would have to have a Bachelor's degree in some form of science for example, environmental health and safety or chemistry. They would also need to be willing to get advanced training that the EPA offers."

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at