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Environment & Public Health - Real Students Explain How EPH Changed Their Lives

Following is feedback provided by graduates of the Environment & Public Health program since 2003. Some of these students began the program right out of the college and others took it later in life to achieve a career change. Whatever the reason and whatever their background, each student has one thing in common: EPH changed their lives and helped them launch a new, successful career. If you are interested in taking your life in a new direction, please visit our Environment & Public Health page to learn more about the program, the pre-requisites and how to apply.

EPH Graduate Alex Lasaracina

"Offering the Rutgers EPH program online has been a blessing for me because it allowed me to finally get a foot in the door for the career I always wanted. I really enjoyed hearing from so many different professionals and being able to ask a lot of questions. I learned so much in this class I could go on and on. Right after my internship at the Burlington County Health Department, I was immediately hired on as a full-time REHS."

- Breanna Livingstone, REHS, EPH 2020
Burlington County Health Department

EPH Graduate Alex Lasaracina

"I would recommend the Rutgers EPH course because it imparts the knowledge and opportunity to become a well-rounded licensed REHS. EPH reinforces the concepts necessary to operate effectively in the field, offering a new educational experience in its intensity, pace, practicality, and connection to direct fieldwork. In particular, septic systems as a topic seemed important for the licensing exam and food law had the most practical use in the field. The field training component provided all of the knowledge and experience I needed to understand the role of an REHS. Once I land a position, the EPH course will prove to be a worthwhile investment."

- Alex Lasaracina, EPH 2018

EPH Graduate Hajja Abdur-Rahman

"The EPH program was an informative, educating, and intense experience that was well worth the effort. EPH definitely prepared me for working in public health as it covered a variety of topics relevant to the daily life of an REHS. The instructors were very helpful and the EPH staff was very well organized, strict with time management, understanding, and hands on. William Manley's lectures on retail food establishments were very engaging and I was able to apply what I learned in the class to real life situations. This topic also helped me during my internship when I performed inspections and wrote reports. EPH gave me a better understanding of the importance of public health, and gave me an opportunity to use both my degree and what I learned in the 7 week program towards a new career path."

- Hajja Abdur-Rahman, Public Health Investigator, EPH 2018
City of Elizabeth Dept. of Health & Human Services

EPH Graduate Elaine Martinez

"It's a great feeling when you find a career path you're passionate about. The EPH program enabled me to achieve that. The program is highly engaging and interesting with many different topics that I simply could not have learned elsewhere. The coursework, field training, and sheer caliber of the professors, are unmatched. EPH is intensive and challenging but success is achievable with hard work and dedication. A unique feature of the EPH program is the support offered by the professors and the Office of Continuing Professional Education; they provide an unbelievably supportive atmosphere to learn and excel as a future REHS. I would recommend this program to those who want a life-long career in an exciting field. Completing the EPH program was by far one of the best decisions I have made, and I am looking forward to starting my career as an REHS. Overall, EPH is an amazing opportunity and worth every penny."

- Elaine Martinez, EPH 2018

EPH Graduate Kathryn Nelson

"The EPH program at Rutgers University has given me the confidence to pursue a career path in public health. The course provided professional insight into many different areas of public and environmental health including septic, pool, and restaurant inspections. Not only can I use this knowledge to become a public health inspector, I can also explore opportunities in consulting. My internship experience was a wonderful introduction into the daily routine of a county health department. The inspectors I worked with were enthusiastic about sharing the knowledge from their many years of professional experience. I now feel confident in pursuing a new direction and look forward to my career in public health. I would strongly recommend the EPH program to anyone who is looking to start or make a meaningful career change."

- Kathryn Nelson, Office Manager, EPH 2018
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (NOFA-NJ)

EPH Graduate Kimberly Greim-Felong

"Although I have worked in the health and safety field, the Rutgers University EPH course was valuable in teaching the principles of investigating environmental and public health issues along with communicating findings to the public. The instructors taught us how to approach clients as educators and to encourage them to comply with regulations for the benefit of themselves and the public. Motivating individuals to comply with public health rules can be a challenge if regulations are misunderstood. I now have the confidence to successfully convey that information and feel like I am benefitting the environment and the whole community."

- Kimberly Greim-Felong, EPH 2018
Laboratory Manager, The Peddie School

EPH Graduate Luiza C. Viana de Queiroz

"I would absolutely recommend EPH to anyone who has a passion for public health and the environment! The EPH program is very intense, with 7 weeks of full-time classes and weekly tests, so dedication is essential. Yet it is a very worthwhile experience. The topics most indispensable for me were microbiology, soil, water quality, food safety and public recreational bathing. The field-training component of the EPH class brought the classroom lessons together and exposed me to a number of different professional experiences. I'm extremely grateful for the time and effort of the REHSs who guided me through the internship training. I firmly believe that the money and time I spent in the EPH course were an amazing investment in myself. I am confident that the EPH class will open many exciting career opportunities in my future."

- Luiza C. Viana de Queiroz, EPH 2018

EPH Graduate Lauren Conner

"I would highly recommend the EPH course at Rutgers University to any individual that wants to improve their skill sets in the diverse field of public health. Top professionals in the field deliver interactive lectures, offer advice, and provide additional material outside of the classroom. This program will help you make lifelong friends and network with top professionals making for a lasting impression!"

- Lauren Conner, REHS, EPH 2018
Legionella Epidemiologist, Communicable Disease Service, New Jersey Department of Health

EPH Graduate June Oh

"I moved to New Jersey from the southern United States without much direction. I came across the EPH course just by chance, originally wanting to pursue an MPH degree, and decided to go for it. EPH is not just an ordinary course; it is an opportunity. I have met inspirational individuals who have already succeeded in the field of public health and who continue to serve as role models, mentors, and advisers. The internship also gave me a chance to prove myself. It has provided me with better direction and I now know I would definitely like to pursue higher education in this field. EPH served as a huge stepping stone to get me to where I am now. Even though it was not easy, the intensive, challenging seven weeks was well worth it! I highly recommend EPH -- not only to recent graduates, but to those who are going through a career change, with an interest in pursuing public health."

- June Oh, REHS, EPH 2016
New Jersey Department of Health

EPH Graduate Matthew Newton

"The EPH course is an invaluable tool. I thought that I could have taken the REHS exam without the course, but after completing the first week of the course, I knew that idea was folly. There are so many topics that an REHS needs to understand, which the regular college curriculum just does not cover. This course also provides exposure to professionals in the fields of soils, microbiology, pest control, hazardous wastes, and food protection, among many others. The connections you make with fellow classmates are lifelong, extending from friendships to future colleagues.

"This course has led to numerous job opportunities for me, including Quality Control Technician at FreshDirect, LLC and numerous Health Departments. I am currently under contract with Northwest Bergen Regional Health Commission as an REHS and I have the EPH course, the outstanding professors and the great learning experience they provided to thank for that."

- Matthew Newton, EPH 2015

EPH Graduate Katie Lebedinsky

"I came across the EPH program in my junior year in college when I knew I would be moving to New Jersey once I graduated school in Canada. That said, it took me three attempts before I finally made it to EPH program in the summer of 2015. Excited to start my career, I considered the summer course to be just another step on my way into REHS field. As the first couple of weeks went by I realized that EPH was not just a class, but an opportunity to meet and learn from some of the most outstanding people in the field. Even though the amount of material learned can be overwhelming, there is nothing more valuable and inspiring than meeting people that live and breathe public health. Yes, it is a class and yes, you do have to study for your quizzes and exam, but this is not what you remember once it's finished. If you are open to it, you have a chance to pick up some great tips, to get advice on how to succeed in the field and to learn a few life lessons from seasoned professionals. Even if something didn't make sense in class, it all comes together during the field training when you get the opportunity of one-on-one interaction with an REHS. In my opinion, EPH is a truly invaluable hands-on learning experience that makes a great foundation for future professionals in the field of environmental and public health."

- Katie Lebedinsky, REHS, EPH 2015
New Jersey Department of Health

EPH Graduate Beckey Gordon

"I just wanted to thank the Rutgers staff for all you did for us this summer. I would not have the opportunities or experiences that I have gained without a continuing education program such as this one. In many programs, students are often left on our own once tuition is paid. This program was very well put together and I felt as l though I always had someone available if I had a question. I hope your department continues helping other students find their way."

- Beckey Gordon, EPH 2015

EPH Graduate Percy Pingpoh

"The benefits of attending EPH are enormous. As a result of both the class and internship portions of the course, I had a chance to create great networking opportunities. The course instructors are the best in their field and the EPH program provides a front row seat to interact with these professionals.

The program gave me a chance to enhance my skills and as result of the training, I was offered a very good job upon completion. EPH is worth every penny!"

- Percy Pingpoh, REHS, EPH 2014
Food Safety Supervisor, Blue Apron, Jersey City, NJ

EPH Graduate Bryan Coward

"EPH is the best option to pursue the REHS license. It exposes you to the skills and knowledge needed to be an REHS and thoroughly covers the information on the licensing exam through three straight months of practical and theoretical training.

But it also prepares you for so much more! You're exposed to a variety of environmental health career opportunities and, with just a little additional training, you could pass a ServSafe exam, CPO course, pesticide applicator license, or any number of other related certifications after completing EPH.

I found EPH invaluable – well worth the cost and gas money. It was a great way to spend a summer and I am better for it both professionally and personally."

- Bryan Coward, REHS/Recreation Supervisor, EPH 2014
Rockaway Township Division of Health

EPH Graduate Sonia Lee

"Public health can be an overwhelmingly broad field, and it is important to understand what environmental health specialists do (especially if you see yourself eventually working for a local or state health department). Interning at a local health department was a worthwhile learning experience in more than just environmental health. Not only was I able to better understand township operations, I also gained a lot of takeaways from being able to spend time with REHSs who were skilled with public relations and negotiation. EPH offers valuable networking opportunities with some of NJ's most knowledgeable public health professionals and comes highly recommended."

- Sonia Lee, EPH 2014

EPH Graduate Cemil Andican

"The instructors are all active, high achieving members of their field. Many are also employers, which gives everyone in the course an opportunity to meet the people with and for whom they will work. The internship with one directly led me to a job in a neighboring township as a full-time REHS, as it gave me the opportunity to work with a Health Officer who recommended me. There really is no substitute for the direct work experience and networking the EPH course offers."

- Cemil Andican, REHS, EPH 2013
Randolph Township Health Department

EPH Graduate Kelly Todd

"I am SO glad I took this course! EPH covered so much information but focused on what I REALLY need to know to be an REHS in the 'real world.' Now I feel confident in my knowledge of NJ health regulations, how they apply and the science behind them. And I felt prepared to sit for the licensing exam. The time spent was definitely worth it!"

- Kelly Todd, REHS, EPH 2013
Cape May County Department of Health

EPH Graduate Ruchi Pancholy

"I was initially skeptical about registering for the EPH course – in terms of tuition and finding subsequent employment in the field; however, the EPH course surprised me in so many ways! I learned more than I could have ever imagined throughout both the course and field work components of the program. Coming in to the course with a BS in public health and having already had several years of experience working for local health departments, I still left each day with a tremendous wealth of knowledge imparted by experts who are truly passionate about the work they do. Passion, determination, and focus are the three things that helped me get through (and enjoy!) this rigorous training.

The REHS license I received after completing this program [and sitting for/passing the NJ State Licensing exam] has opened many possibilities that I would have never imagined -- including being interviewed not only for local health departments but also other government agencies across the country."

- Ruchi Pancholy, REHS, EPH 2011
Foodborne Surveillance Coordinator, Hawaii State Dept of Health

EPH Graduate Danny Yook

"My biggest fear was going back to school, but I found myself more motivated because I was putting myself through it with a purpose. [EPH] really offers a broad perspective of the industry. I found my niche."

- Danny Yook, REHS, EPH 2011
Compliance Manager, Fairway Markets

EPH Graduate Haliun Ayush

"What I most valued about this accelerated course was the opportunity to be taught by professionals who are currently working in or have retired from the field. They really taught the students the tricks of the trade. By sharing their personal experience, it gave us a holistic perspective on the different career fields we are exploring. You don't get that kind of opportunity anywhere else. This course takes students outside of the classroom experience and into the field. The internships we acquired toward the end of the course solidified everything we learned in class by providing an opportunity to work with professionals and see just what they encounter on a daily basis. The internship also served greatly as a networking opportunity. I really enjoyed my placement -- everyone was open to answering my questions and helping me practice some of the skills that a health inspector practices. The entire course gives you a lot of credibility. When I go into interviews, employers are usually very impressed that I have been trained to become an Environmental Health Specialist. It has given me an edge and leg-up. Yeah, it was challenging but well worth it."

- Haliun Ayush, EPH 2011

EPH Graduate Thomas Mynes

"For me, taking the EPH course in the summer following my Junior year put me at a great advantage entering the fall semester of my senior year. As an Environmental Policy major (with a Public Health minor), my senior year covered many advance topics that EPH had outlined wonderfully. The knowledge I gained through EPH was applied to nearly all of my classes, and I was able to command a greater understanding of the material. I am certain that I would not have made the Dean’s List in the fall if it wasn't for the great education I received over the summer. Now entering my final semester as an undergraduate, I am re-enforcing the education I got over the summer -- and once I graduate I am confident the skills I have learned through EPH will exponentially increase my job opportunities in the workforce!"

- Thomas Mynes, REHS, EPH 2011
Oregon Health Authority

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"I took this course to extend my range in environmental job searching, since the public health portion was completely new to me. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into! It is quite in-depth -- you encounter almost a hundred of different diseases in the microbiology section alone! I learned a great deal overall, however, and gained a lot more experience than I ever thought would before going into the program. I know it can be costly for some, and academically difficult for others -- but it is well worth it if you have the passion for the field of Public Health, and the willingness to learn more about this very broad subject!"

- Timothy Lum, EPH 2011

EPH Graduate Ryan Reighn

"Internship was great, I can say now that the class did a great job at preparing us for the job."

- Ryan Reighn, REHS, EPH 2010
New Jersey Department of Health

EPH Graduate Ivana Semjanova

"The summer EPH program is not a piece of cake - the course work is heavy and there are weekly quizzes, so you must adapt to shifting topics and work to stay on track. But do so, and every day you will learn something new. You need to walk in to the classroom with a strong attitude, knowing that this is what you really want. I strongly recommend this course to those interested in Public Health … I am now a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and cannot wait to start my new career in Public Health!"

- Ivana (Semjanova) Ilosvaj, REHS, EPH 2010

Photo of Nick DeStefano

"Unlike the four-year college experience, with different students in different classrooms for each different subject, EPH provided a cohesive learning environment whereby different student backgrounds strengthen the learning. The instructors are great at taking these differences, and applying their benefits to the field of environmental and public health. I don't believe that I could have acquired this kind of learning for this particular educational pursuit any other place. Likewise, the Office of Continuing Education is great at providing personal support. Between coordinating grades, test reviews, answering all sorts of questions that were asked, and even offering a brief course in resume writing, I don’t feel like I have gotten that kind of attention, on that level, anywhere else in my academic career.

I kind of wanted to freak when I saw the course binder, but as I started to explore how much material was actually provided to me, I was relieved that it was so organized and in language that was easily understood. Each of the instructors brought something different to the table … even the guest speakers were very helpful in building confidence and providing skills toward becoming a successful environmental health professional.

EPH exceeded all of my expectations. Having a course come with an internship and guidance for state licensure was amazing. I couldn’t have gotten experience like this anywhere else. It was nice to go out, at the end of class, and put what I just learned right to use."

- Nickolas DeStefano-Blum, REHS, EPH 2010

EPH Graduate Daniel Yang

"I knew where I wanted to go in terms of my career (FDA inspector), I just did not know how to get there. EPH provided me with what I needed to set my career on the most expedient path, and the necessary experience to gain momentum in the field. I especially enjoyed the eclectic group of qualified instructors from different areas, and the organized structure of such an intense course. An immense amount of material is covered, but EPH sufficiently prepared me for the challenge."

- Daniel Yang, REHS, EPH 2009
Bloomfield & East Orange Health Departments

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"I had a pretty high expectation about EPH when I enrolled in the program in the summer of 2009 and I was not disappointed. The scope of my knowledge in environmental public health has been broadened beyond my wildest imagination. I’m ready to make a huge difference in this area. I’m glad to be a graduate of the Rutgers EPH program!"

- Samuel Annor, MPH, REHS, EPH 2009
Doctoral Student, UMDNJ School of Public Health

EPH Graduate Laura DePinto

"The REHS License not only looks great on my resume but, as a professional working in the food industry, it really helps me to understand food safety from a regulator's view. Additionally, it has given me much insight into industrial environmental compliance as well. In today's economic climate, multiple skill sets are valued by employers. I really enjoyed the course and found it a great value!"

- Laura DePinto Marsella, REHS, EPH 2009
QC Manager, Food Manufacturing Industry

EPH Graduate C. Danielle Clemons

"After graduation I was at a loss. The economy was in a slump and I felt as if I had no clear direction of what a B.S. in Public Health would qualify me to do! The EPH class helped me to focus. The intense coursework was challenging and informative. I gained a better understanding of different industries that utilized the specific skill set I possessed and was able to use this information to get a job in health that is exciting, rewarding and fulfilling. I would definitely recommend this class -- I can't praise it enough! I remember stressing about how I was going to pay for it...but eventually I just decided to do it. I’m so happy I did!"

- C. Danielle Clemons, REHS, EPH 2008
New Jersey Department of Health

EPH Graduate Michael Kowal

"I would like to thank you for your assistance in helping me find an internship with the Long Branch Health Department last year because it turned into a full time position for me. Along with health inspections I am now certified as a Lead Risk Assessor/Inspector and a coordinator for our newest program with the Public Advocates office: Model Lead-Safe Cities. I am also coordinator for our infectious disease control program using the CDRSS database. Everything is going great and I will be starting graduate school for my Masters in Public Health in September. EPH was a superb jump start to a successful career in public health. Again, my sincere thanks for all your hard work and assistance."

- Michael Kowal, REHS, EPH 2008
Monmouth Regional Health Commission

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"Although I am a veteran student with 3 degrees under my belt, EPH was, by far, the most challenging and rewarding educational program I’ve experienced. With what I learned in EPH, I expect to have a long & fruitful career in environmental health."

- Frank McAllen, REHS, EPH 2008
Sr. Environmental Specialist, Disease Strategies

EPH graduate Emily Carey

"EPH gives you a really intense experience where you make or break it. There was just so much good material that it was overwhelmingly a positive experience. I’m getting to use the technical expertise that I have as well as involve the policy stuff that I’m interested in. If you’re interested in fighting for public health and going out there and literally making the world a better place…if you’re interested in doing that, and you think it’s really worth it, the class is absolutely fantastic!"

- Emily Carey, REHS, EPH 2008
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

EPH graduate Marianne Feeney

"I was able to successfully make a career change because of the EPH program at Rutgers. The curriculum provides an excellent foundation for becoming an REHS. I have never attended a program where so many experts not only teach in such an intimate atmosphere but also share their real-life experiences. They were very approachable and when I finished the course, I left with a network of specialists who are only a phone call or email away if I have questions. Furthermore, the hands-on experience provided through the field training was invaluable. There are some things that cannot be learned in the classroom so being out in the field exponentially increased my knowledge. Finally, the staff at Rutgers was wonderful during the whole process. They really reduced my stress by taking care of a lot of the paperwork required for the state exam. Was it worth the time and money? You bet. I have a job and a career that I find really interesting!"

- Marianne Feeney, REHS, EPH 2007
Somerset County Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"EPH was a perfect start for my career in public health. I felt completely prepared for the REHS exam and field work. The internship was 100% beneficial. I was able to demonstrate the knowledge I learned in EPH and was offered a position immediately. This class was worth the time, energy and money!!!"

- Rachel Dornish, REHS, EPH 2007
Camden County Health Department

EPH Graduate Stephanie George

"I would highly recommend the EPH course to a friend or colleague. The course offers the training, tools, and personal insights from instructors that are essential for becoming an REHS. It differs from other educational programs because the teachers work in public health, so they’re able to give you the practical, first-hand knowledge of the material that you will need in the field. One of the most indispensable instructors was [former faculty coordinator] Dr. George Van Orden. He is a wealth of knowledge and taught us so much. He also had a full understanding of all topics, not just the one he taught, so he could answer almost any question. The course seemed expensive at the time, but in the long run, its impact on my career is priceless. I was hired by two departments for part-time work after completing EPH and after a few months, one of my part-time employers hired me for a full-time position."

- Stephanie George, REHS, EPH 2007
Pequannock Township Health Department

EPH graduate Tom Felcetto

"If you're looking for a second career, like I was, you might go back to graduate school, and spend significant time doing it. EPH, on the other hand, was a great, quick class that opened the door to a lifetime career. I came away from EPH with a solid foundation to perform the requirements of an REHS. What we gained in 12 weeks will provide a very satisfying career, in an area that can only grow and provide even more opportunities."

- Tom Felcetto, REHS, EPH 2006
Middlesex County Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"EPH fully prepared me to enter Public Health and did so in the shortest possible time. I was presented with trained professionals from the field who taught the essentials and gave me the practical knowledge of their many years of experience. The information you learn is exactly what you practice when you enter the field. I would definitely recommend EPH to a friend or colleague."

- Keith Levine, REHS, EPH 2006
Lead Risk Assessor, Princeton Regional Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"The field training component was excellent. I was fortunate to work with a great group of people who really cared about what I learned. It helped me to understand all aspects of the public health inspector’s work life. The knowledge you gain from the experience is so valuable for the all encompassing world of public health."

- Toni Lewis, REHS, EPH 2006
Director & Radon Measurement Specialist, Lewis Home Inspections

EPH Graduate Virginia Wheatley

"EPH provided an intense and positive learning environment. The bioterrorism-related topics were most valuable; it is vital for future REHSs to comprehend the important role they play in protecting the public’s health and safety. I have already seen that my time and money in this course was a wise investment."

- Virginia Wheatley, MPH, REHS, EPH 2005
New Jersey Department of Health

Rutgers EPH Course Instructor

EPH Graduate Carl Scialfa

"EPH has been the ultimate tool to launch my major career change into public health. The class was very organized, well planned and thorough with excellent instructors, and the field training exceeded my expectations. There is no way to compare the price to the value received for seven weeks, seven hours a day of top-shelf, quality education which can prepare you to move to a new field."

- Carl Scialfa, REHS, EPH 2004
Branchburg Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"Words cannot express the impact that this program had on my life. The wealth of information provided was invaluable….The specialized instructors were knowledgeable and kept me motivated throughout. I wasn’t sure about dedicating my life to public health before, but now I realize how rewarding it is."

- Janet Castro, REHS, EPH 2004
North Bergen Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"I lucked out with my internship. The senior sanitarian was very enthusiastic about giving me hands-on experience and gave me really good advice. Being out there gave me a lot of confidence that I could do the job in the future."

- Romel Fernandez, REHS, EPH 2004
Bloomfield Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"Unlike the public heath courses I took in college, EPH dealt specifically with public health in New Jersey. Learning state regulations was really beneficial in preparing me for my career. EPH is also a great networking tool! I met a lot of wonderful people who helped me get a full-time job right away."

- Michelle Pizarro-Allen, REHS, EPH 2003
Morris County Office of Health Management

EPH Graduate Tricia Cowell

"EPH really prepares you for what you will have to deal with out in the field. I was making a career change and class opened a lot of doors by introducing us to people in different fields in health departments at the local, county and state levels. Receiving job leads and help in rewriting my resume were critical to starting my new career."

- Tricia Cowell, REHS, EPH 2003
Bernards Township Health Department

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"The instructors were excellent. I’m applying a lot of the principles taught in the class on the job today. And even though the class is New Jersey specific, a lot of the information transcends state lines. There’s nothing like this class in New York; New Jersey is ahead of the curve on environmental issues and continuing education."

- Franklin Parchment, REHS, EPH 2003
New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Rutgers University Environment and Public Health Program

"It was such a benefit to have instructors who are experts in their fields. The combination of a 7-week class with a 5-week internship was an ideal way to learn. You immediately put into practice what you learned in the classroom."

- Michele Picone, REHS, EPH 2003
Parsippany-Troy Hills Health Department


EPH 2022

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