What was your educational and relevant work experience prior to enrolling in the IH/Hazardous Substances Academic Training program?
Undergraduate degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in chemical biology. Research experience as an undergraduate (Heisig Undergraduate Research Fellowship at the University of Minnesota) in chemistry.
What made you interested in the field?
A desire to apply my undergraduate knowledge toward the protection of individuals in the workplace and the general public as they encounter chemical and biological hazards. Industrial hygiene is a diverse and dynamic discipline; therefore, I knew I would be professionally challenged in any position.
What made you choose the University of Minnesota?
The reputation of the school of public health and the warm reception from the IH faculty and staff.
What type of job would you like to find upon completion of the program?
I am the institutional Biosafety Coordinator for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I had always wanted to do work in the health care industry and am thrilled to be given the chance to do so so soon after completing the program. In addition to the main campus in MN, I also oversee the biosafety concerns, specifically in the research laboratories, in the Arizona and Florida campuses. Since this is a newer position for me, I am not sure what will happen in my future. I am certain that I will gain valuable experience in this job that will add to what I have learned in the IH program.
What would you say to a student considering the program?
The faculty is very interested in helping students succeed. It is important to have a good relationship with your adviser in order to get the most out of your graduate experience. They are there to assist you in your program, but as a student you have to take the initiative to contact them with questions about your graduate career. The school does a nice job in giving students experience working in cross functional groups. This is specifically apparent during the core classes taken by all students within SPH. It was a great graduate experience and has me well for the professional world.