In our Alumni Career Spotlight series, you will meet some of our alumni and learn about the important work they are doing to create a healthier nation and world.
Employer: Roche Diagnostics
Current position: Health & Safety Professional
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Degrees: BS in Environmental Health Science, IUPUI, 2019
Why did you choose your major/program?
I switched majors to Environmental Health Science (EHS) because I was inspired to learn more about how environmental factors influence our health. Before switching majors to EHS, I met with some of the EHS faculty and we discussed the content of some of the courses, types of job roles, and career outlook. After those discussions, I knew that EHS was the major for me.
Briefly describe your career path.
I got my first internship during the fall semester of my senior year with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) in their prescription drug overdose unit where I primarily helped with communications and driving program improvements. In my final semester of my senior year I was able to get two internships, one with the ISDH environmental labs where I worked on an arsenic sampling method SOP, and the other with Helmer Scientific as their Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) intern.
My internship with Helmer Scientific was in the field of work that I hoped to go into after college: occupational EH&S. My leader and mentor at Helmer Scientific was also an IUPUI EHS grad, and she taught me so much but also gave me the room to learn when I was just getting my career started. All of this led to my first full-time job out of college where I was accepted into an early-in-career program with Roche Diagnostics called the Accelerated Development Program (ADP).
ADP was a two-year rotational program where I got to spend three eight-month rotations within the three different safety, health, and environmental teams at Roche. After the two-year rotational program had ended, I accepted a role as a health & safety professional with Roche.
Describe what an average day for you might be like.
As a health & safety professional within a large EH&S department, there are specific program areas that I am responsible for. These include ergonomics, PPE, life safety (AEDs, CPR, shelter-in-place, emergency evacuation procedures, etc.), employee engagement, and google management. A typical day will include addressing immediate concerns or requests related to these program areas such as following up with ergonomic or PPE related incidents, or answering questions such as how to get an ergonomically vetted WFH office chair or how to obtain prescription safety glasses.
Other things I may do during the day include ergonomic assessments or PPE assessments to assess the risk related to these programs, determine appropriate controls to eliminate or reduce the risk, drive the implementation of those controls, and then verify risk reduction. All of this requires the ability to collaborate and influence within several work spaces such as offices, labs, warehouses, manufacturing, and the field.
What advice would you give your college self about pursuing your current career path or industry?
Don’t wait for the opportunities to come to you. If you are interested in a specific area of work that may not be directly related to what you are doing right now, seek out someone that is in that field and at least have a discussion with them. They may have a small project for you to work on to get your foot in the door or they may think of you the next time an opportunity arises. Also, if you are interested in an additional project that you would do on the clock, make sure to run it by your current leader to get their approval.
What is a lesson learned at FSPH that you have been able to apply to your career?
A lesson I learned at FSPH is to know your strengths and weaknesses, but also know the strengths of others around you. Working together and learning from one another can make each other better.
What is the most significant thing that’s happened to you since graduating?
Proposing to my college girlfriend and committing to spending the rest of our lives together.
What’s next for you?
In life I hope to travel more and spend more time in various areas here in the U.S., but also in Europe closer to my family. I would also like to continue to give back and be involved in the communities that I live and work in. Career wise, I hope to continue to learn in the Occupational EH&S world, obtain my master’s in sustainable management, and try my hand at teaching at the college level.
What is your favorite IUPUI/FSPH memory?
My favorite memory at IUPUI is spending time outdoors with friends, or enjoying the walkability of the campus and downtown Indianapolis.