Celebrating 50 Years of Environmental
Health Degree Accreditation!

In celebration of EHAC's first accredited program in 1969, EHAC Program Directors were asked to select graduates of their programs that have experienced significant success in their Environmental Health careers. Program Directors more than answered the call with graduate success ranging from a Rear Admiral with the Indian Public Health Service and Directors of Public Health Departments nationwide, to Environmental Health Inspectors to a founder of an EH compliance and consultation business. EHAC graduates have found satisfying, meaningful and lucrative careers as a result of their rigorous EHAC accredited education, as well as, the extraordinary mentorship of EHAC Program Directors and faculty.

EHAC Graduate Success Stories
(listed by graduation year)

Graduate:  Tom Chestnut, Senior Vice President, Global Food Division, NSF International, Inc.
1975 Illinois State University, BS Environmental Health

Announcement: NSF International to audit UAE Emirates Quality Mark certification. Chestnut on right.
The first 4 officers of SEHA as they receive their official charter from a representative of IEHA in 11975. Tom Chestnut is in the center shaking hands with the IEHA rep.

Mr. Chestnut’s Environmental Health related success story:

As Sr. Vice President - Global Food Division at NSF for the last 12 years, Tom oversees a team of 2,000+ public health professionals that are responsible for over 175,000 food safety audits each year on farms, food processing facilities, and restaurants in over 75 countries. With a passion for embracing emerging technologies to help solve the many food safety issues that face today’s food industry, Tom is also the CEO and Co-Founder of EyeSucceed (an NSF Company) in 2015.  He is the co-inventor on two pending patents for the use of augmented intelligence combined with SmartGlass technology, and is working closely with Google on technologies that will be transformational to the future of food safety. Mr. Chestnut was previously with Darden, parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Bahama Breeze, for more than 20 years. There, he served as Vice President of Total Quality and International Director of Product Safety and Quality and led the implementation of food safety protocols with suppliers throughout Asia, Mexico and Latin America. Mr. Chestnut is highly regarded throughout the food safety industry and environmental health community. As an Environmental Health Professional with expertise in food safety and quality, he helped found the Food Safety Leadership Council and has been awarded Industry Sanitarian of the Year by the National Environmental Health Association. He served on the Board of Directors and as Vice Chair for the Conference for Food Protection, as former President and Vice President of the Industry Affiliate National Environmental Health Association, and as former Advisory Board Chair for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. He earned his bachelor's degree in Environmental Health from Illinois State University in Normal, Ill, and began his career working with both state and local regulatory agencies in the environmental health field. (Source: Bloomberg LP, https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp?personId=36319270&privcapId=863015&previousCapId=863015&previousTitle=NSF%20International%20Inc, retrieved 2/19/2019)

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Whether it was environmentally related, or within the chosen field of food safety, it was always about making a positive impact on public health and safety.  That makes NSF International such a perfect fit with a mission statement that hasn’t changed in 75 years – “to protect and improve human health”.

At ISU we were challenged to seek out new solutions and that has always stayed with me, and continues to be a driving force each day.  Now, far into my environmental health career, I can finally envision how technology will be that ultimate enabler that has eluded us in the pass.  Working with Google over the last four years and pursuing advanced augmented intelligence (AI) through the formation of a start-up (EyeSucceed.com), we are less than two years away from having the ability to detect and correct human error, the leading cause of foodborne disease and over 3,000 deaths each year in the United States.

The best of food safety and environmental health is ahead of us!

Graduate:  Angelo Bellomo, Director of Environmental Health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
1981 – California State University, Northridge

Mr. Angelo Bellomo

Mr. Bellomo’s Environmental Health related success story:

Angelo J. Bellomo is Director of Environmental Health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Mr. Bellomo is leading current efforts of the Department to reduce the health impacts of climate change while promoting the development of healthy, sustainable, and resilient communities.

Previously, Mr. Bellomo was Director of Environmental Health and Safety for the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he led reforms in the areas of school emergency planning, sustainable building design, and State regulatory review of proposed school sites. His development of a compliance assessment program for Los Angeles schools was the inspiration of U. S. EPA’s Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (“Healthy SEAT”).

Mr. Bellomo began his career in environmental health in 1973. His 40-year career has included assignments in both the public and private sectors, and his work has focused on the assessment and control of environmental health risks in communities throughout the State of California.

From 1974 to 1979, he worked as an environmental health officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In 1980, he was responsible for development of the county's Hazardous Materials Management Program, the nation’s first local program for enforcement of the California Hazardous Waste Control Law. In 1982, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Mr. Bellomo as California’s first Toxics Enforcement Chief. He subsequently served as Chief of Southern California Operations for Cal/EPA, administering regulatory programs for enforcement and site cleanup until 1988.

During the period 1988-1999, Mr. Bellomo led the Los Angeles area consulting operations of three national firms, McLaren, ICF Kaiser Engineers, and Environmental Strategies Corporation. In 1999, Mr. Bellomo founded Polaris Group LLC, through which he provided environmental consulting services to numerous private firms and government organizations including the cities of Santa Monica, Montebello, Torrance, and Los Angeles. He provided expert testimony in the areas of environmental compliance, site assessment and remediation, emergency preparedness and school safety.

Mr. Bellomo has served on the Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee of U.S. EPA; the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Executive Board of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). He currently serves on the Executive Board of the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH).

The California Legislature, U.S. EPA, the California League of Conservation Voters, and the National Environmental Health Association have recognized Mr. Bellomo’s leadership in the environmental health field.

Graduate:  CAPT Michael M. Welch, RSEH, MSEH, Phoenix Area Associate Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering
East Tennessee State University, MS Environmental Health

CAPT Michael M. Welch

CAPT Welch Environmental Health related success story:

Captain Michael Welch is currently serving as the Phoenix Area Associate Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. Captain Welch began his career with the State of Tennessee Health Department in 1984. He worked as a Field Sanitarian, District Sanitarian and Deputy Regional Director before joining the USPHS in 1990. His first assignment with IHS was as a Field Environmental Health Officer detailed to the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation in Dillingham, Alaska. He also served as the Director for Environmental Health and Safety at Bristol Bay before transferring to Phoenix Area IHS as the Western Arizona District Environmental Health Officer in 1994. Captain Welch was selected as the Phoenix Area Environmental Health Services Branch Chief in 2001 and served in that capacity until 2007. From 2007-2012 he served as the Acting Associate Director for the Phoenix Area Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. Captain Welch has served in several acting positions in Phoenix Area including 4 months as the Executive Officers and 1 year as the Director of Field Operations.

Captain Welch graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a BS in Biology and East Tennessee State University with a MS in Environmental Health Administration. He has completed the IHS Executive Leadership Development Program and Certified Healthcare Environmental Management Course. He is a member of the American Academy of Sanitarians. He is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist with the State of Tennessee and with the National Environmental Health Association. Captain Welch has received numerous awards including the Society of American Military Engineers Cumming Award, the Health and Human Services Directors Award, Phoenix Area Environmental Health Officer of the Year and the IHS Environmental Health Officer of the Year Award.

Captain Welch served as an advisor to the Office of the Surgeon General as the Chief Environmental Health Officer for the United States Public Health Service from 2009- 2013. In this assignment he served in an advisory capacity to the Office of the Surgeon General on issues related to Environmental and Public Health. For his work in this capacity Captain Welch received the Surgeon General’s Exemplary Service Medal.

Captain Welch is married to his wife Amy and they have one son, Christopher.

Graduate:  Dr. Jude Van Buren, Clinical Faculty University of Washington Graduate School of Public Health
1984 – University of Washington, BS Environmental Health

Dr. Van Buren’s Environmental Health related success story:

I entered the field of EH as a public health nurse and upon graduation from the UW began working in a local health department in the areas of  EH food safety and chemical safety for exposures to poor indoor air in schools, and hazardous materials.  After 3 years,  I started graduate school in the EH program at The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore where I conducted research regarding the impacts of lead exposure in children and pregnant women.  I received a Masters and Doctoral degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins and returned to Washington state to teach at the Evergreen State College. I taught basic science courses there and introductory courses in environmental heath and the core disciplines of public health: toxicology and epidemiology. After 6 years  of teaching, I longed to re-enter the field of environmental health and worked progressively in areas of drinking water sanitation, environmental epidemiology, zoonotic diseases and communicable disease outbreak control.  I became the Assistant Secretary of Health for the State Health Department and  after 12 years at the state, returned to teaching and university environmental and occupational health and safety  in the role of the Senior Director of EH&S for the University, a department that was responsible for the environmental and occupational health of the University.   I became a clinical faculty for the graduate School of Public Health and sponsored undergrad and grad EH students in internships, projects and thesis. My greatest achievements in my EH career has been to increase student interest in EH and assist students in growing their careers in this fascinating, challenging and valuable discipline.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

I became interested in the EH field from working as a public health nurse in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and Paraguay.  The anti-diarrheal medications we were giving newborn children did not stop the diarrhea and upon  asking mothers where they were getting their  drinking water for their babies and their formula - the answer always was "the river".  The river was also where laundry was done, cows were watered, and where children and adults often relieved themselves; a perfect breeding ground for intestinal parasites and water-borne bacteria that caused diarrhea. I began working with a host country sanitarian to build latrines and deep wells  and we saw the cases of diarrheal disease decrease dramatically. Public health at its best- Prevention! On returning to the US - I enrolled in the EH Program at the UW as I found this discipline to be the most logical and effective approach to stop disease and exposures to bacterial and toxic agents in our environment. In my over 30 years of working in EH at the local, state, national and university levels,  I have felt extremely productive and challenged and very delighted I joined the ranks of the public health professionals!

Graduate:  Thomas (Tom) Butts, Sr. EH consultant for Tri-County Health Dept. and Acting Environmental Health Director for Larimer County Department of Health and Environment
1985 – Colorado State University

Mr. Butts’ environmental health related success story:

Tom served with Tri-County Health Department for 32+ years working with communities and local officials in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties in Colorado.  He started his career as a general EH specialist conducing inspections and doing program education.  After a couple of years, he had the opportunity to focus on hazardous waste management technical assistance for small business and household chemical collection programs. From 1992 to 2002 he was part of a team that provided regulatory and technical oversight of cleanup activities at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) superfund site and other hazardous waste management projects. From 2002-2008 he managed the bioterrorism, pandemic disease and all hazard preparedness activities including planning, training and exercises. From 2008-2013, Tom served as the Director of Environmental Health, managing programs including: food protection, child care centers, pools and spas, individual sewage disposal systems, vector control, body art, land use planning, a variety of solid and hazardous waste-oriented activities, as well as working on operational and policy issues. He then served as Deputy Director from 2012 until early 2017 focusing on effective and efficient internal operations and supporting policy systems and environmental change for the benefit of community/population health.    Tom is currently working part time as a Sr. EH consultant for Tri-County Health Dept. and as Acting Environmental Health Director for Larimer County Department of Health and Environment.  He was recently been appointed to Colorado Board of Health.

Tom has been a member of the Colorado Environmental Health Association since 1984, serving as president in 2016-17. He has been a member of NEHA since 1985 and served as co-chair (2003-05) of the Terrorism and All-Hazard Preparedness Technical Section.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

I started at CSU as a Microbiology /pre-med major then spent some time as an Environmental Engineering major before finding Environmental Health (EH) .  I was drawn to the EH field as it was involved both environmental quality (air, water, waste, etc.) and human health.  Discussion with EH program faculty was very helpful as they provided insight about the practice and how the wide range of skills that are available to  be acquired can be applied when working in any community.  Every community needs EH practitioners so the opportunities to work in many first, second or third world environments existed and still does.  As I learned more about the practice I was able to learn more about the links between air quality, water quality, waste management and human health impacts. Learning about the microbiology involved in both production of food and as a source of contamination and disease was also intriguing and applied in practice on a daily basis.  After an internship with a Toxicologist at EPA, I started working in the Denver metro area and have stayed at the local government level working with and in communities is very rewarding.

Graduate:  Cindy Smith, Inspector for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CEPHED)
1990 - Colorado State University, BS Microbiology and BS Environmental Health

Smith inspecting illegal tire dumps
Smith's daughter Julie
Smith inspecting

Mrs. Smith's environmental health related success story:
Immediately after college Cindy Smith moved to Washington State where she worked for Westinghouse Hanford Company in the Environmental Division for 4 ½ years.  Westinghouse was a Department of Energy (DOE) contractor doing environmental clean-up work on the Hanford Site.  Activities from the Manhattan Project left lots of waste management and remediation challenges associated with Radioactive Waste, Mixed Waste and Hazardous Wastes.  Cindy escorted Washington State Department of Ecology inspectors to site facilities and had to respond to findings and deficiencies.  Cindy also trained facility personnel how to manage and label hazardous wastes.  On weekends, Cindy and her husband Ed cherished exploring Washington State in all her glory!  Upon the birth of their first child, Cindy and Ed decided to relocate to Colorado to be near family again.

Immediately after college Cindy Smith moved to Washington State where she worked for Westinghouse Hanford Company in the Environmental Division for 4 ½ years.  Westinghouse was a Department of Energy (DOE) contractor doing environmental clean-up work on the Hanford Site.  Activities from the Manhattan Project left lots of waste management and remediation challenges associated with Radioactive Waste, Mixed Waste and Hazardous Wastes.  Cindy escorted Washington State Department of Ecology inspectors to site facilities and had to respond to findings and deficiencies.  Cindy also trained facility personnel how to manage and label hazardous wastes.  On weekends, Cindy and her husband Ed cherished exploring Washington State in all her glory!  Upon the birth of their first child, Cindy and Ed decided to relocate to Colorado to be near family again.

In Colorado, Cindy briefly worked as an author for the Hazardous Waste Consultant Journal, then an exciting opening became available at the State health department.  Since then, Cindy has worked as an inspector for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for 23 years.  One of the things Cindy loves about her career, is the diversity of issues she has addressed.  Cindy has inspected restaurants, dairy farms and food manufacturing facilities including flour mills, juice manufacturers, jelly-makers, bakeries and milk plants during her tenure with the Consumer Protection Division.  Cindy has inspected hazardous waste facilities, medical waste incinerators, solid waste landfills, water treatment plants, compost facilities, tire recyclers, and illegal disposal sites while employed with the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division at CDPHE.  In her role as an inspector, Cindy has the opportunity to interact with the general public and regulated facilities on a routine basis.  She enjoys investigating complaints, and particularly seeks opportunities to provide compliance assistance when educating the regulated community in compliance matters. 

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Cindy knew at an early age that she enjoyed nature and was passionate about the environment.  In high school she worried about spills to the environment and whether adequate systems were in place to ensure clean-up.  Cindy also found science fascinating, so it was not a surprise when she found herself studying Microbiology at Colorado State University.  As she neared conferral of her Microbiology degree, Cindy decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Health as well…… and that has made all the difference! 

An Environmental Health degree has led to a broad assembly of employment opportunities.  Whether your passion is air, water, waste, soil conservation, or protection of food manufacturing, drug manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, public health, vectors, toxicology or epidemiology……. the Environmental Health program at CSU gives you the foundation to make meaningful contributions in these areas.  Over the years, I have particularly enjoyed my field work.

Lastly, I am proud to say our middle daughter, Julie Smith, graduated from the CSU Environmental Health program in May 2018, and she is currently working as an Environmental Planner for CalTrans (California Department of Transportation) at their Los Angeles district office.

Graduate:  Ryan Hellman, Founder – Hellman & Associates
1991 – Colorado State University, BS Environmental Health, 1992, Master of Science in Environmental Health

Mr. Hellman’s Environmental Health related success story:

My interest in occupational safety was strengthened while earning my undergraduate and graduate degrees at CSU. During that time, I took advantage of the OSHA Consultation Services program at CSU’s Department of Environmental Health. I shadowed the OSHA consultants and learned how they helped small businesses around the state evaluate and improve worker safety. We toured jobsites and I gained first-hand knowledge of how identifying hazards and improving safety and health management systems produced meaningful results for these businesses in terms of injury reduction and cost savings.

During this time, I also realized that companies who did not have the means for a full-time EHS manager or needed supplementary expertise had very few options. This realization inspired my business model of outsourced safety management. I founded Hellman & Associates over 20 years ago and have continually adding to the value we provide our customers. In 2010 we introduced our ASSUREDComplianceSM annual partnership program, which guarantees our clients compliance with OSHA and other regulatory agencies. The customer success rate has been so high that we have a 98% renewal rate.

In 2010, we became one of just three consultancies in the country to achieve the OSHA Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Star Site Status. Since then, we have helped numerous clients join this elite group that experiences 50% fewer workplace injuries.

Today, Hellman & Associates supports over 500 businesses, protecting more than 65,000 employees annually. Much of our success can be attributed to the caliber of our consultants. Since 2005, Hellman & Associates has hired 15 interns from the CSU Environmental Health program, six of whom have joined the company as full-time employees. We currently have eight CSU graduates on our staff and we continue to recruit from the school based on the quality of their EH program and the knowledgeable professionals it produces.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

I was first exposed to Industrial Hygiene during the boom in asbestos removal in the 1980s. I spent my summers working for my dad’s company, removing asbestos from many Denver public school buildings. I ran a team of high school buddies and it was hard work; real construction work. We had to scrape it, bag it, and drum it. I became interested in the challenges of keeping the staff safe, researching and enforcing precautionary measures like respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, and limiting asbestos exposure.

After two years as a business major, I took a year off of college and went back to work for my dad’s company doing Industrial Hygiene work. I realized I found it much more challenging and rewarding than my business studies, so I enrolled in CSU’s Environmental Health program.

Graduate:  Roy Kroeger, Supervisor for the Cheyenne/Laramie County Division of Environmental Health
1993 – Colorado State University, BS Environmental Science

Mr. Kroeger’s Environmental Health related success story:

Roy Kroeger is the supervisor for the Cheyenne/Laramie County Division of Environmental Health in Cheyenne, Wyoming.   He has been employed with the health department since August 1993. Roy received his B.S. in Environmental Health from Colorado State University in 1993 and has twenty-six years of experience in the environmental public health profession. He received his Registered Environmental Health Specialist credential in June 2000 and has been a member of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) since 1993.  Roy is also active in the Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming Environmental Health Associations.

Roy Kroeger is the supervisor for the Cheyenne/Laramie County Division of Environmental Health in Cheyenne, Wyoming.   He has been employed with the health department since August 1993. Roy received his B.S. in Environmental Health from Colorado State University in 1993 and has twenty-six years of experience in the environmental public health profession. He received his Registered Environmental Health Specialist credential in June 2000 and has been a member of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) since 1993.  Roy is also active in the Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming Environmental Health Associations.

He served as NEHA’s Region 3 VP from 2007 until 2018 when he was elected Second Vice President. During his term on the NEHA Board, he has been active with many projects including: serving on the Finance, AEC, Membership and other committees. He has also participated as a subject matter expert in updating the Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) and Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS) credentials.

Roy is also currently serving on the Governing Council of the FDA’s Partnership for Food Protection (PFP) and the Governance Council for the Council to Improve Foodborne Illness Outbreak Response (CIFOR).

Roy has also served on the Environmental Health Accreditation Council. The National Environmental Health Science & Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC) develops and applies accreditation guidelines for institutions of higher education that wish to ensure premium quality education and training of environmental health science and protection practitioners.

Prior to serving on the NEHA Board of Directors, Roy served eight years on the Wyoming

Environmental Health Association’s Board of Directors including two years as President and concurrently served as President of the Wyoming Food Safety Coalition in 1991.  Roy received the Wyoming Outstanding Environmental Health Professional’s Award in 2002 and the Arthur Williamson Award in 2012.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Roy always had an interest in water and found himself in the Chemistry program at Colorado State with an interest in Environmental Chemistry.  During his Junior year, Roy found himself not enjoying the classes he was taking and not finding the connection between Chemistry and the water quality goals that he sought.  After a daunting semester in the Quantitative Analysis lecture, he decided to see what other paths were available leading to a career in protecting the waters that he came to cherish through his recreational and photography interests. 

Hydrology focused more on the engineering and technical aspects of water with less emphasis on water protection creating similar problems to chemistry.  Natural Resources was an area that seemed to be a good fit with the water quality but seemed to be very narrow when considering career opportunities.  Through his research Roy found Environmental Health and decided to move forward with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health.

Environmental Health was a good fit because it allowed Roy to pursue water quality while finding many other environmental related fields such as air quality, radiation and even the field where he currently spends most of his time, food safety.

Roy was hooked after taking the Intro to Environmental Health class and has never looked back.

Graduate:  Christopher L. Craig, Assistant Executive Director,
First Tennessee Development District Graduate:  Christopher L. Craig, Assistant Executive Director,
1994 – East Tennessee State University, MS Environmental Health (BS Environmental Health Missouri Southern State College in 1989)

Christopher L. Craig

Mr. Craig’s Environmental Health related success story:

Chris has been with the First Tennessee Development District for nearly 24 years. He served as the District’s Director of Environmental Programs until 2012 when he was named Assistant Executive Director. In 2017, he was named the District’s Executive Director. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member at East Tennessee State University. In his role with the Development District, Chris has experience in building consensus among stakeholders and coordinating activities among various local agencies.

Chris is originally from Southwest Missouri where he graduated in 1989 from Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, MO with a B.S. degree in Environmental Health. He also graduated from East Tennessee State University with a M.S. in Environmental Health in 1994.

Graduate:  Thomas (Tom) Gonzales, Public Health Director for Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE)
1996 – Colorado State University, BS Environmental Health Program

Mr. Gonzales’ Environmental Health related success story:

Tom Gonzales serves as Public Health Director for Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE). Gonzales holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and a Master in Public Health from the University of Northern Colorado, and is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist.  Prior to joining LCDHE, he was Deputy Public Health Director at El Paso County Public Health overseeing Emergency Preparedness and Response, Environmental Health and the Laboratory.  Previously, Tom was Program Manager of Environmental Health at Clark County Public Health (WA) addressing on-site wastewater management and drinking water.  He led the environmental health response and recovery activities after four wildfires and two flood events in El Paso County.  Tom’s national and local involvement includes a term as regional vice president for the National Environmental Health Association where he pioneered the sustainability committee, charged with proposing the role of sustainability in environmental health. He also served on the executive committee for the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials and was president of the Colorado Environmental Health Association (CEHA). In 2013, Tom was awarded the Milton M. Miller Award, CEHA’s highest honor for an environmental health professional. Recently, Gonzales was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

At a very young age Tom had a passion for water quality, and conducted water quality testing on the Colorado River where he grew up.  As he learned how humans impact the environment, especially water quality, he became even more interested on how the environment impacts human health.  During his Junior year of High School Tom applied to CSU -  Environmental Health.  During his time at CSU, Tom became more and more interested in environmental public health, and conducted an internship at Summit County EH in Breckenridge.  His internship project included testing private water wells in Summit County for nitrates and bacteria to determine the impacts of on-site wastewater systems on water wells. What Tom enjoyed most about this internship was working with the variety of people, and educating them on proper well head protection.  Tom was hooked and has spent that past 23 years working in governmental public health working on policy and improved systems to advance public health.  

Graduate:  RADM Richie K. Grinnell, Assistant Surgeon General, Deputy Director for Field Operations Indian Health Service
East Central University, BS Environmental Science

RADM Grinnell

RADM Grinnell’s Environmental Health related success story and what drew him to the study of Environmental Health:

Richie K. Grinnell, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri, is the Deputy Director for Field Operations for the Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives. RADM Grinnell is an Assistant Surgeon General and holds the rank of Rear Admiral in the Commissioned Corps of the U. S. Public Health Service.

In this position, RADM Grinnell oversees the 12 IHS Area offices that include IHS and tribally managed service units. The Indian health care system delivers comprehensive services to 2.2 million eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives residing on or near reservations directly served by the IHS or through tribally contracted and operated health programs. RADM Grinnell also provides management oversight and expertise in formulating policies, goals, and strategies related to program operations and resource allocation.

RADM Grinnell previously served as the Area Director of the IHS Albuquerque Area Office, where he was responsible for providing leadership to 9 service units and 27 Pueblos and Tribes in New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.

During his career with the IHS, RADM Grinnell served field assignments as an environmental health sanitarian at Service Units in Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico. He completed several management assignments with the IHS Albuquerque Area Office as the District Sanitarian; Director of the Division of Environmental Health; Associate Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering; Acting Area Executive Officer; and Acting Area Director. Starting in 1999, he served in the IHS Nashville Area as the Associate Director, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. He also served as Acting Area Executive Officer and Acting Area Director while in Nashville before becoming the permanent Area Director in early 2004.

RADM Grinnell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from East Central State University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Hawaii.

RADM Grinnell has received several public health service honors and awards, including an Exceptional Capability Promotion to Captain, the Outstanding Service Medal, two Commendation Medals, two Achievement Medals, one Citation, an Outstanding Unit Citation, three Unit Commendations, and the Crisis Response Service Award. He received the 2007 Flag Officer Award from the American Indian Alaska Native Commissioned Officer Advisory Committee for his continuous record of outstanding leadership.

Graduate:  Kristen Ruby-Cisneros, Managing Editor, Journal of Environmental Health, National Environmental Health Association
1997 – Colorado State University, BS Environmental Health

Mrs. Ruby-Cisneros and Roy Kroeger
Mrs. Ruby-Cisneros and colleague from East Stroudsburg University

Mrs. Ruby-Cisneros’ Environmental Health related success story:

After completing my capstone internship at the Weld County Health Department, my first job out of college was at Accu-Labs in Golden, Colorado, in its inorganic water testing laboratory. In 1999 I started work at Advanced Circuits as its laboratory supervisor and safety officer. While there I was responsible for all employee safety training, environmental reporting, wastewater monitoring, and chemical bath maintenance.

In 2003 I started working at the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) as its education coordinator. My main responsibility was putting together the educational program for NEHA’s annual conferences (over 150 sessions and 200+ speakers for over 1,000 attendees). Work at NEHA then evolved into managing its publication program and numerous research projects related to workforce development and training, sustainability, preparedness, and food safety. In 2011 I became the content editor of NEHA’s Journal of Environmental Health, a peer-reviewed scientific journal that is published 10 times a year. I was promoted to managing editor of the Journal in 2014 and oversee all steps of the publication process from manuscript review to the final print version and am currently working on my 78th issue of the Journal.

Working at NEHA these past 16 years has provided me with a rare opportunity to apply my environmental health education to my daily work and continue my learning about environmental health while working on projects that have provided continuing education, scientific research, and training for thousands of environmental health professionals across the country.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

I stumbled upon CSU’s environmental health program my sophomore year. I entered CSU as a chemical engineer major and never felt a connection with my courses or what I could do with the degree after college. I was initially drawn to the environmental health program due the fact that all the science and math courses I took during my first three semesters would transfer if I decided upon this new major. I also saw the potential for a more meaningful degree and career path.

It was during the introductory environmental health course that I realized the amazing potential this field held, as well as how it fit with my love of science and the desire to have a career that could positively impact the health of people and the environment. I felt that a degree in environmental health could afford me with many different, interesting, and impactful career paths.

I had found my home in CSU’s environmental health program and never regretted changing my major. During the next two years I immersed myself in the program, got involved in the Environmental Health Student Association, and worked in one of the environmental health labs on campus. It was an amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and dream of what I could potentially do after graduation.

Graduate:  Douglas Dulaney, Director, VHA Office of Occupational Safety Health and GEMS programs
2000 – East Tennessee State University, BS Environmental Health and MS Environmental Health in 2003

Douglas Delaney

Mr. Dulaney’s Environmental Health related success story:

After graduation, I applied and ultimately selected for the Technical Career Fields Intern Program with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2003 and worked as an Industrial Hygiene intern for two years at the Mountain Home Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Upon completion of the program, I took over the VAMC Industrial Hygiene Program. I successfully ran that program and was subsequently promoted to a position as the Network Green Environmental Management Systems (GEMS) Program Manager overseeing the environmental programs at all VA Hospitals in Tennessee, Kentucky and one facility in West Virginia (total of eight Healthcare Systems) that comprised Mid-South Veterans Integrated Healthcare Network (VISN 9)).

Within 2 years, I moved to the position of National Service Chief at the Center for Engineering Occupational Safety and Health (CEOSH) where I oversaw the chemical inventory and Safety program audit tools for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) nationwide, as well as the training curricula for all safety program managers in VHA. After two years with CEOSH, I moved to the position of Deputy Director for the Office of Occupational Safety Health and GEMS Programs at VHA Central Office in Washington DC. I oversaw all facets of the administrative operations of that office as well as assisting the Director in developing and implementing National Policy and Programs aimed at improving the Safety and Environmental Programs within the VHA.

During my 4 years as the Deputy Director, we increased support funding to the field and increased the number of Safety and Environmental professionals throughout the country as well as created standardized position descriptions developed new staffing models to optimize support for Safety and Environmental programs at the medical center and network levels. During that time, I was also able to significantly reduce the number of workplace injuries by 10% in a 4-year period in our 300,000 plus staff throughout the country, reduce the number of Serious OSHA violations and significantly reduce the number and severity of EPA violations.

I had the opportunity to develop positive working relationships between VHA and the Office of the Inspector General, the Office of the Medical Inspector, the Office of Special Council, the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of this effort, we were able to develop the same relationship with other federal agencies including, but not limited to the U.S. Secret Service, Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, Indian Health Service, and the Defense Health Agency.

In 2012, I was promoted to Director, VHA Office of Occupational Safety Health and GEMS programs. Since 2012, we have increased the staffing of Subject Matter Experts in my office by 81%, increased the support funding to the field by 50%, and added additional programs areas including Clinical Occupational Health, Safe Patient Handling, Workers Compensation, Employee Health and Well Being, a Drug Testing Program. In the past 10 years, worker injuries has decreased by 60% through this office.

In addition, I have developed Predictive Risk tools for Safety and Environmental Programs that better enables both field facilities and my office to target at risk facilities and provide early intervention and support to those facilities hopefully before any major untoward events occur.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

What attracted me to the Environmental Health field is I sincerely believed that it provided me the best training and opportunity to work with industry as an Environmental Health Professional. Prior to starting my Master’s Degree, I had completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. While that degree was rewarding, I did not clearly see how the information that I learned could be readily applied to many of the career fields present in the job market.

That changed when I took my first Environmental Health class in Industrial Hygiene. From that point on and in many more classes, I learned the skills to implement programs and initiatives that could both protect workers and be a good steward of the environment. The unique combination of the classroom training and the projects that I was able to participate in gave me valuable insight into how to effectively compete and thrive in a corporate environment. I am and will always be grateful for the training I received from my professors at ETSU and the opportunities that, that training has opened up for me.

Graduate:  William Van Dyke, District Manager for the Northwest Mosquito and Vector Control District
2001 - California State University, San Bernardino, BS Health Science Environmental Health Concentration

Mr. Van Dyke’s Environmental Health related success story:

I attended California State University San Bernardino’s EHAC accredited program from 2007-2011. In this time, I gained a BS in Health Science Environmental Health Concentration.  I began my work in this field as an unpaid lab intern working for the Northwest Mosquito and Vector Control District.  From there, I became a treatment technician working to serve public health in the field.  This was a great pleasure for me because I was actually getting a paycheck.  What a thrill it was to do what I loved, getting paid to hike around in various settings protecting public health.  The residents appreciated my ability to assuage their fears regarding vector-borne diseases and to communicate the need for vector control services.  This appreciation turned into a number of phone calls to my District Manager, Dr. Major Dhillon, who recognized that I could better serve the District in the role of Public Information and Technology Officer.  This was an exciting new challenge that placed me in front of very influential political figures and the residents I so love to serve and protect.  Upon retirement of my mentor and leader, Dr. Major Dhillon, I was selected to become the District Manager for the Northwest Mosquito and Vector Control District. 

This is truly a story of going from the basement to the penthouse in under a decade.  The EHAC program, led by Dr Lal Mian, trained me to do well, to work hard and to appreciate every opportunity to protect human life and to steward the environment from harm.  I was blessed with great teachers and a small program where I was recognized for my hard work.  Becoming an Environmental Health Specialist was the best career decision I ever made.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

I was drawn to the field of environmental health by a lifelong love for the work.  I grew up spending many formidable years around my father who ran a wastewater treatment plant in a small town in Michigan.  I was fascinated by the studies where he would keep live goldfish in water that was the lifeblood of his treatment plant.  I liked the goldfish and was quite upset when a tank of fish would come up dead.  It was a tangible representation of what would happen if the job was not managed and performed with diligence and respect.  I appreciated the visible results and still do to this day.  When public health is not served, people die or get sick.  That is an important yard stick with which to measure someone’s professional endeavors. 

Graduate:  CDR Jessica Otto, MPH, REHS, CP-FS, HHS, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), on the Retail Food Policy Team
2004 – Western Carolina University, BS Environmental Health

CDR Otto’s environmental health related success story.

Commander (CDR) Jessica Otto, MPH, REHS, CP-FS, HHS, is a 2004 graduate of Western Carolina University (BS ENVH ’04).  Following graduation, encouraged by a long legacy of graduate-officers, she commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service, and served the environmental health needs of Native American and Alaska Native communities with the Indian Health Service (IHS).  She served the IHS at four different duty locations over 11 years.  She obtained her Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) credential in 2006, the Healthy Homes Specialist (HHS) credential in 2011, and her Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS) in 2016.  Some of her notable accomplishments with the IHS included drafting model health codes for tribal government adoption, becoming an FDA Certified Inspection/Training Officer, and responding to hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

CDR Otto decided to pursue a Masters of Public Health, based on her early experiences in environmental health, to further her career and improve her impact on the field of environmental health.  She graduated with an MPH from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in 2010.   

Later in her career CDR Otto sought to hone her skills specifically in the sub-specialties of food safety and risk management.  She currently serves at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), on the Retail Food Policy Team.   In this important role, CDR Otto serves as the Associate National Standard for Retail Food in the FDA, ensuring retail inspectors meet stringent standards of practice.  She also is an author for the model FDA Food Code, serves as an FDA consultant to various committees within the Conference for Food Protection, and is a co-developer for the Retail Risk Assessment Framework which is revolutionizing food policy debate, analysis, and development for retail food safety.  She also co-leads the National Retail Risk Factor Study, to measure the occurrence of practices and behaviors commonly identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as contributing factors in foodborne illness outbreaks in retail food establishments. She has been recognized by the FDA with several group and team awards for these efforts.  Additionally, she served as a voting member and Chair of the Junior Officer Advisory Group, providing guidance to the Office of the Surgeon General on issues affecting the 4000+ junior officers in the USPHS, and currently serves as a voting member on the Environmental Health Officer Professional Advisory Committee (EHOPAC).

In her 15-year career with the USPHS she has received several awards and recognitions including Commendation Medals, Achievement Medals, Special Assignment Awards, Presidential Unit Citation and Unit Commendations.  She is a Safety Officer for the USPHS deployment team Applied Public Health Team 3, and served as Deployment Operations Executive Officer, at USPHS Headquarters for the Hurricanes Harvey and Irma response in 2017. She is a member of NEHA, and a member of the National Capitol Region and Uniformed Services affiliate chapters.

What drew you to the study of Environmental Health?

The intersection of science and art drew CDR Otto to the field of environmental health.  The pursuit of knowledge, questioning, and researching paired with the opportunity to problem solve, interpret, and test intervention strategies drew her to the sub-specialty of food safety.  Each day presents new challenges and changes to the science of the practice.  This creates a dynamic field to pursue.  Equally appealing is the ability to work each day with scientists, interest groups, regulatory authorities, and the public to address concerns, mitigate risks, and foster healthy living and healthy communities.  The art of helping science meet community’s and individual’s needs in a meaningful way is the driving force behind her love for the field of environmental health.

Graduate:  Mitchell Brown (Supervisor with Jefferson County Public Health)
2005 – Colorado State College, BS Environmental Health

Mitch collecting water samples from a cooling tower
Emergency preparedness medication dispensing exercise

Mr. Brown’s Environmental Health related success story:

Mitch graduated from CSU with his BS in Environmental Health in 2005 and his Masters in Public Health from the University of Florida in 2014. He is currently a Supervisor with Jefferson County Public Health, where he manages the onsite wastewater and water quality, pool, air quality, land use, and healthy homes programs.

Mitch started as an intern with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. Following his internship, he was hired by Jefferson County Public Health and based on his experience with Larimer County, he became a generalist inspector for Jefferson County. He also became the department lead and assisted with developing the clandestine drug lab remediation program for the county.

A short while later, Mitch moved to Southern California and worked as an environmental engineering consultant for URS Corporation. While at URS, he was the specialist in groundwater remediation, Phase I environmental site assessments and health and safety. During his time at URS, he worked on projects for ConocoPhillips, BNSF and local municipalities throughout Orange County, the Inland Empire and High Desert.

Upon his return to Colorado, Mitch was then hired by Clear Creek County Public and Environmental Health as their lead EHS/ EH Director. He was with Clear Creek County for four years and was involved with the Colorado Directors of Environmental Health and developing their EH Department.

Mitch returned to work for Jefferson County Public Health and led the food- and waterborne epidemiology, meth affected properties, childhood lead poisoning prevention, and recreational water inspection programs.

Mitch is a Registered Environmental Health Specialist and has worked in onsite wastewater, childcare, retail food, and recreational water (pools and spas), emergency preparedness/epidemiology, air quality, non-community water, and healthy homes (lead, indoor air quality, radon, and meth affected properties) programs.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Mitch originally wanted to go to dental school but ended up liking disease control and epidemiology. He switched from a biology degree to environmental health because he felt that the topics he learned in environmental health were more applicable to everyday life. A favorite aspect of his job is getting to investigate disease. He also has a passion for working with water quality because it is essential for life and a very important topic as it is a limited resource. Being in environmental health, he feels he is still able to help protect the health of people by preventing disease.

Graduate:  Aaron Schulte, Resident EHS Manager for Fort Collins Brewery
2005 – Colorado State University, BS Environmental Health Science

Ms. Schulte’s Environmental Health related success story:

During a panel discussion that we had as part of an EH class, I had the opportunity to meet a safety manager from Anheuser-Busch.  I really liked what she was working on and approached her to see if they had an internship.  I was hired as the summer intern at the Anheuser-Busch Fort Collins Brewery my junior year and had the opportunity to work through my Senior year as well.  I was hired on full time as an EHS Manager and started my career with Anheuser-Busch in Columbus, OH.  I was promoted after 14 months to a Safety Manager position with AB in Fairfield, CA.  After 3 years as a Safety Manager, I wanted to challenge myself on the environmental side.  I moved back to Fort Collins to become the Environmental Manager for the Fort Collins Brewery.  After 1.5 years as the environmental manager, I became the Resident EHS Manager.  I have had the opportunity to grow and develop with Anheuser-Busch in my 15 year career.  I feel very grateful to work beside great people where we strive for ambitious environmental, health, and safety results and achieve them.  As a manager of the environmental, health, and safety programs, I am empowered to be creative, push the boundaries, and implement change. 

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

I was interested in biology early on and was originally a pre-med student.  I had the fortunate opportunity to meet someone on campus who was in the EH major.  I like the idea of mixing my passion for the environment and being able to apply a science degree.  I was also attracted to the various career opportunities that opens to one that graduates with an EH Major as I was paying my way through college. After joining the major, I immediately enjoyed the mix of lab classes and the EH core courses.

Graduate:  Daveta Bailey, Commissioned Corps Officer Daveta has served on a Rapid Deployment Team
2007 – East Carolina University, BS Environmental Health and Safety

Ms. Bailey’s Environmental Health related success story:

In the Spring of 2007, Daveta Bailey graduated from East Carolina University’s Environmental health and Safety Program and went on to work as a United States Public Environmental Health Officer.

Her first duty station was with the Us Food and Drug Administration in Tampa, FL.   For the next 11 years, Daveta worked for the Food and Drug Administration as a Consumer Safety Officer (Inspector) and Emergency Response Specialist.  Her duties included conducting investigating of complaints/injury, illness, or death caused by an FDA-regulated product, conducting inspections of pharmaceutical, food manufacturers (seafood, juice and dairy), Biologics, and Foreign Imports, leading foodborne outbreak response investigations and remediation’s, and building emergency response training drills for FDA Emergency Response Personnel.

During her tenure at the FDA

  • She served as part of the investigations and response team for the Castleberry Chili Outbreak in 2007
  • She served as the Operations Chief in the Florida Panhandle during Deepwater Horizon, working with mobile laboratories to test seafood harvest areas and managing personnel assigned to conducting inspections at surrounding seafood processors. 
  • She served on Outbreak response teams for outbreaks such as Chipotle, Dole, and Blue Bell Ice Cream
  • She served as part of the Georgia Ports authority CIKR exercise for the Savannah Port
  • She completed the National Emergency Management Basic Academy for Emergency Managers at FEMA Emergency Management Institute and The ICS Train the Trainers Course
  • In 2017 she won an FDA Honor Award for leveraging collaboration between FDA Emergency Response Training and FEMA Virtual Response Network Exercises
  • She has completed inspections at facilities in counties such as India, China, and South Korea.

As a 2 since 2008 as both a Health Educator and the Food Safety and Nutrition Supervisor.   Food Safety Officers are responsible for providing safe and acceptable food and potable water for both Federal medical Shelters (FMS) residents and support personnel.  She also manages a team of five which includes additional Food Safety Officers and Dieticians. She also provides direct support to EH personnel responsible for vectors, infection control, and safety.

Since 2008, Daveta has deployed to the following missions:

  • Hurricane Sandy, Edison, NJ – Food Safety Officer @ Federal Medical Shelter
  • Immigration Surge Support, Nogales, AZ - Deputy Logistics Section Chief @ Customs and Border – Nogales Station
  • Louisiana Floods, Baton Rouge, LA – Food Safety Supervisor
  • Hurricane Maria/Irma/Harvey, Frederick MD, Logistics/Ground Personnel @ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
  • Hurricane Florence, Clayton, NC, Food Safety Supervisor

Volunteer Service

Daveta currently volunteers as a Volunteer Fire Rescue EMT in Montgomery County, MD. Daveta also provides Food Safety Support during Remote Medical Missions most recently in Chattanooga, TN. Daveta is currently working at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD where she is working as an Industrial Hygienist. She is responsible for program management and implemented the Respiratory Protection and Ergonomics Program.  She also supports the Indoor Air Quality and Injury Investigation Programs.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

After leaving Nursing school, she transferred into the Health Education and Promotion department.  After completing a semester of health classes, she was told that she would have to resign her commission because Health Education was not commissionable at the baccalaureate level.  Through some conversation and connections with the chair of the EH department at that time, she was able to add Environmental Health as a second degree.  Throughout the last two years, her EH instructors worked hard to ensure that she had the skill sets needed to perform an EH task requested.  They even went above and beyond in helping her find work in her field after she graduated which helped her to remain steady in the field and not stray too far away.

Graduate:  Lindsay Davis, Research Associate at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder
2011 – Colorado State University, BS Environmental Science

Ms. Davis’ Environmental Health related success story:

Lindsay joined the Environmental Health department at CSU as an undergraduate in 2007 and spent three years working on the Nicaragua Cookstove Project. After completing a capstone internship in risk communication with the Southern California Earthquake Center and graduating with a degree in Environmental Health in August 2011, she volunteered at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) for seven months. During her time at HVO she blended environmental health and geology, working with the gas geochemistry team to measure the sulfur dioxide degassing from Kilauea Volcano, conduct gas mask fit tests with the staff at the observatory, and to collect water samples from areas downwind from the volcano. She went on to earn a Master's degree in geology from Michigan Technological University where she conducted research on disaster risk reduction in the highlands of El Salvador where she served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2013-2015. During her Peace Corps service, she worked with youth and community leaders on environmental education, community organization, disaster risk reduction, and cookstove projects. After completing her graduate degree, Lindsay worked in disaster risk reduction and management at the municipal level in the Philippines for a year before moving to Washington D.C. to advocate for the use of science in policy making as the Geological Society of America's 2017-2018 Science Policy Fellow. Lindsay is currently a research associate at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her current project is to work with partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Geological Survey on landslide risk reduction efforts as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria. Lindsay is passionate about bridging perspectives from environmental health, anthropology, and geology to understand natural hazards and how human actions influence disaster risk.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Lindsay was initially interested in the field of Environmental Health because she wanted to work with women in developing countries, but the opportunity to work on the Nicaragua Cookstove Project sealed the deal. The three years she spent collaborating with the cookstove team provided hands-on experience working on an international epidemiological study that focused on the health of women and children and led to an honors thesis on the social barriers of stove adoption. Through her work with the project and her coursework in Environmental Health, the interdependence of humans and the environment because increasing clear in practice, and she has now expanded her purview to include the fields of geology, anthropology, and policy. As she has moved into a disaster specialization, her environmental health knowledge is still an important lens and the foundation that underlies many aspects of disaster risk reduction, mitigation, response, and recovery, particularly since human action is intrinsically linked with the causes and effects of disasters as is the well-being of those experiencing and responding to them. 

Graduate:  Tatiana Rosser, Environmental Specialist at South Carolina Electric and Gas
2012 – Benedict College, BS Environmental Health

Tatiana Rosser

Ms. Rosser’s Environmental Health related success story:

Environmental Health Science was not my first career choice but, it was one of the best choices I made thus far in my life. I attended Benedict College for my Undergraduate Degree and I was active in exploring the opportunities this field had to offer. During my 4 years at Benedict I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Samuel Darko as a Research Student investigating Advanced Materials for Sustainable Environmental Protection. 

After graduation there was an opportunity to become a Research Assistant in Dr. Darko’s Lab continuing the same study. My duties included assisting students in their research projects and providing training and maintenance on the instrumentation lab. After two years as a Research Assistant at Benedict College I had a job opportunity at South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G) Wateree Station Coal Plant as an Environmental Technician in 2014. I remain at SCE&G after 4 ½ years but now as an Environmental Specialist where, I support all plant wide inspections and reporting regarding air, water and land regulations. Correspond any environmental and safety topics inquired by plant and contactor personnel. Mandate and manage proper disposal of non-hazardous and hazardous waste disposal. Serve as a point of contact for state and local agency programs. There has yet to be a dull moment since I have joined Wateree Station, I get the chance to also have cross-functional relationships with the engineering, operations, and administrative personnel at the plant. Just recently I attended a Physical/Chemical Wastewater Operator Level D training program and took and passed the South Carolina state exam. Environmental field has offered me challenges that keep me alert and excited to come back every day.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

In high school I had an ecology class that just made a lot of sense to me, when I had to choose a major at Benedict College; Environmental Health Science was the best fit. In college I always had a Research opportunity and I have been fortunate to be employed by an environmental focused job. Environmental Health was a challenge in some of my studies but, I have always been interested in the ways to troubleshoot, or to create and develop preventative methodology for environmental remediation. What makes the Environmental Health field so attractive is that environmental issues are everywhere in all aspects of life and this ensures career longevity. The training required for this filed is so diverse that career transitions are not difficult, which make the Environmental field unlike any other career. Most importantly this career calls for me to be a responsible and considerate human being while occupying space on the planet Earth.

Graduate:  Evan Bernard, Infection Preventionist at Memorial Hermann Hospital
2013 – Texas Southern University, BS Environmental Health

Mr. Bernard’s Environmental Health related success story:

After graduating as Cum Laude from Texas Southern University's EH program, Evan immediately entered graduate school as at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.  In June 2016, he graduated with a Master's of Science studying Health Informatics.  During his time at UT Health, he investigated the use of technologies to study and prevent the spread of Ebola.  Evan earned works as an Infection Preventionist at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX to improve cleaning practices to mitigate infections across outpatient health facilities.  Since 2017, Evan has been a data analyst for the department where he continues to use statistical and visual analytics to influence decision making within the healthcare domain.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Evan was naturally drawn into the public health field from his interests to address health issues of larger populations opposed to individualized cases.  Environmental health allowed him to explore a new faucet of health, interconnecting the ways environmental issues affect the overall health of various communities.  He saw this as a new challenge and tackled it in an innovative way.

Graduate:  Katie Del Rosario, USDA
2013 - East Carolina University, BS Environmental Health Science

Del Rosario in front of USDA headquarters
Del Rosario at high pressure Processor at Illinois Inst. of Tech.
Del Rosario hosting booth at 2017 NEHA AEC

Ms. Del Rosario’s environmental Health related success story:

After graduating with a Master of Science in Environmental Health degree from the Environmental Health Sciences Program at East Carolina University (ECU), Ms. Katie Del Rosario began her career as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) at the Durham County Department of Public Health in the Food, Lodging, and Inspections Division.  Katie spent over two exciting years protecting public health at the local level before accepting a position with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service in the Office of Food Safety.  As a Food Safety Specialist, Katie is responsible for providing food safety education, training, and technical assistance to Child Nutrition Professionals who operate Nutrition Assistance Programs such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, or Summer Foodservice Program.

Ensuring the nation’s children have access to nutritious and safe food is an extremely rewarding job. Ms. Del Rosario’s favorite role is serving as program manager for Produce Safety University (PSU).  Produce Safety University is a week-long immersion course designed to help Child Nutrition Professionals identify and manage food safety risks associated with fresh produce.  Katie and her fellow training team travel across the country to bring this free training to Child Nutrition Professionals.  The PSU curriculum covers all aspects of the fresh produce supply chain from growing and harvesting to storage and preparation through a combination of lecture, laboratory, and field-trip instruction. 

Ms. Del Rosario continues to find Environmental Health and specifically Food Safety to be an exciting field where new information can be learned and applied on a daily basis.  Katie has been with the USDA for over three years now and continues to apply the knowledge she learned at ECU to her work on a daily basis. 

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?
After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies, Ms. Del Rosario served as a Coastal Resource Management Volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps in the Philippines.  Katie lived in a small rural fishing village for over two years and became increasingly interested in how the environment can impact people’s health.  She realized that a lack of clean potable water, solid waste disposal infrastructure, and polluted air, could make a huge impact on a person’s life.  Seeing the public health effects of environmental exposures first-hand inspired Katie to pursue a graduate degree in Environmental Health upon her return to the U.S.  Katie remains a strong believer that clean and safe air, water, and food should be a right for all people and not a privilege reserved for the most developed countries in the world. 

Graduate:  Breanna Crowell
2014 – University of Georgia, Athens, BS Environmental Health Science

Ms. Crowell’s Environmental Health related success story:

Breanna Crowell, who graduated from EHS with a B.S. back in 2014, went on to get her master's degree in Environmental Management from Duke University in 2017, and is currently employed in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She was kind of enough to share some of her experience with EHS and since then. "I am currently working as an Environmental Consultant for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Specifically, I work on Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) for south Florida. These are watershed plans that track efforts by cities, counties, water control districts, and state agencies to reduce nutrient pollution in impaired watersheds. I work as a part of a team that quantifies the water quality benefit of these stakeholders’ projects like stormwater ponds, stormwater filtration devices, non-structural projects like public education, and more. Using these credits, we can estimate the effectiveness of the BMAPs and the progress towards restoring Florida’s lakes, rivers, and estuaries.

Since the state capital of Florida is in Tallahassee, we regularly have to travel down to central and south Florida for public meetings. That has included both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts as well as the City of Orlando and other cities around south and central Florida. We recently traveled to a U.S. Air Force base near the Atlantic Ocean to meet with their representatives regarding living shorelines that are being installed to reduce erosion and that may benefit water quality as well." 

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

"[The]Water Pollution and Human Health and Environmental Toxicology have both been very valuable as I’ve progressed in my career. Introduction to Environmental Health was also important as it was what inspired me to switch majors into EHS initially. I’ve also found that the public speaking component that each EHS class required has benefited me greatly in conducting public meetings and meeting with stakeholders more personally. One of my favorite experiences was being a part of the Environmental Health Science club. Since EHS is a smaller major on campus, it was a really great way to make friends in the program and do fun activities outside of the classroom. It was always a lot of fun doing our regular clean-ups along the club’s adopted road, College Station Road. I also enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the graduate-level journal article discussions in a few of the EHS classes to fulfill Honors College credit. " 

One of my favorite experiences was being a part of the Environmental Health Science club. Since EHS is a smaller major on campus, it was a really great way to make friends in the program and do fun activities outside of the classroom. It was always a lot of fun doing our regular clean-ups along the club’s adopted road, College Station Road. I also enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the graduate-level journal article discussions in a few of the EHS classes to fulfill Honors College credit. " 

Graduate:  LT Shelby Foerg (U.S. Public Health Service)
2014 – Central Michigan University, Undergraduate degree in Environmental Health and Safety

LT Foerg (right) testing indoor air quality

LT Foerg’s Environmental Health related success story:

During my last year of undergrad at CMU I participated in a JrCOSTEP internship in the summer of 2014. As a JrCOSTEP you are assigned as a Junior US Public Health Officer (USPHS) to a federal agency for 90 days, typically in remote or underserved areas. I was placed with the Indian Health Service in Ashland, WI to work on environmental health duties with the native American tribes in both Michigan and Wisconsin. Early into this experience I knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a USPHS Officer after I graduated.

Three months after graduating I was busy applying to all sorts of jobs from both the private and public service sectors. An opportunity to start a career with the Indian Health Service arose in Bemidji, MN working with the same program that I had interned for during the summer of 2014. Not only would be able to become a federal employee and work for an agency I was already familiar with, but I would then have the opportunity to convert to a USPHS Officer after completing the onboarding process.

My experience as a CMU EH student, and participating as a JrCOSTEP in Summer 2014 gave me the edge that I needed to become a USPHS Officer within 2 years of graduating. Also, I was able to earn my Registered Environmental Health Specialist credential within a year and a half of graduation. I just received my first promotion to Lieutenant on January, 1 2019. Being a USPHS officer is rewarding, competitive and overall the biggest accomplishment I have achieved since graduating from CMU in 2014.  

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Prior to becoming an EH student at CMU I had never heard of environmental health and safety. I was a transfer student my sophomore year from a small private college where I began as a pre-nursing student. After shadowing nurses and Physicians I quickly realized that nursing was not the career I wanted to pursue, so I changed my major at CMU to health professions. I set my sights on becoming a Physical Therapist, but the idea of being in school for several years deterred me from following this path as well.

During the summer of Sophomore year I had decided that I was going to change my major again. I knew this time I had to select something that I truly enjoyed and knew I could make a career of it. The environmental health and safety degree popped off the page at me when I was reviewing potential majors. Clearly, based on my previous two majors, I wanted to work in the health field in some capacity, and I knew that I was strong in math & science. The coursework for the environmental health field drew me in right away: soil science, hydrogeology, organic chemistry, community health etc. These classes sounded right up my alley.

In addition, I did some research on my own to see what someone with an EH degree could do. I quickly realized that not only was the range of jobs/careers expansive, but also that EH professionals are in high demand, and will continue to be for the unforeseeable future. You could say that I got my cake and ate it too with both my interests and career lining up together in a field where it is difficult to be unsuccessful.

Graduate:  Megan Joyce, Chemical Safety Specialist II Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute
2014 – West Chester University, BS Environmental Health

Mrs. Jocye - 2nd from left
Ms. Joyce in the lab

Ms. Joyce’s Environmental Health related success story:

I have been working at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute now for about 4 ½ years. I, with the help of my advisors at West Chester University, managed to complete my internship with the Office of Research Safety at CHOP. Throughout my years here, I have been fortunate to have countless opportunities and experiences to grow and learn more about the industrial hygiene field. My title at CHOP is a Chemical Safety Specialist II, which focuses mainly on toxicology with aspects of industrial hygiene and regulatory compliance. Much of my time is spent working closely with research laboratories ensuring the safety of the workers and compliance of our program. We also provide thorough training dependent of the risks involved in the researchers work. I will say the best part about this career, is no day is ever the same.

I have assisted in the onboarding of several interns and other Safety Specialists in my department. This have given me the opportunity to practice leadership skills, which in turn I can use in my future career advances.

My personal goal for the end of this year is to obtain the ASP accreditation. I was recently approved for the exam, and plan to take it towards the end of the calendar year. After the ASP, I would like continue on to obtain the CSP accreditation. 

I have to say, I was very fortunate in my circumstances. My main WCU advisor, Maura Sheehan, provided a great service to me by placing me with the Office of Research Safety at CHOP. I credit how well prepared I was for this career to the entire Environmental Health program at WCU. I would not be here today without the help of the great professors in that program.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

When I first started thinking about my college career, I was set on becoming a nursing student. My Aunt Joan, who had been a part of my life since I was in diapers was a nurse. I had always admired what she did, and wanted to be like her. I had always wanted to help others when they could not help themselves. As I was applying for colleges, I started looking into the different programs that were offered at each institution. I came across the Public Health: Environmental Health program at West Chester University which intrigued me, to say the least. In addition to my desire to help other humans, I have always been an advocate for the conservation of our planet. This program seemed like a good way to bridge the gap between my two passions.

Once I began my college career, there was no question that this was the right field for me. I, again, was fortunate to have such supportive faculty advisers there to support and guide me through my academic career. I hope one day I can be a source of support, just as they were to me.

Graduate:  Jaimyal Lindsey, Inspector for Leidos
2014 – Mississippi Valley State University, BS Environmental Science

Lindsey using a PID meter to detect gas leaks
Lindsey using PID meter to detect gas leaks

Mr. Lindsey’s Environmental Health related success story and what drew him to the study of Environmental Health:

My name is Jaimyal Lindsey, I am a graduate from Mississippi Valley State University. After graduating from Mississippi Valley State University, I wanted to work in the environmental field. I wanted something that I can start building my career on.  I started working for a company named HEPACO. This company is an environmental emergency response company. I started as an environmental technician. With this position it gave me the knowledge and skill sets that would enhance and further my career in this field. I gained knowledge in how to go about environmental cleanup, how to properly dispose of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Over this time I acquired a supervisor license in asbestos abatement for five different states. I also acquired my railroad safety license as well. After being with Hepaco, I was able to move up to higher positions within the company. My last year there I was promoted to supervisor. The same year I started working for a company called Leidos. Leidos is a contractor that works really close with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). I work closely with all the safety inventory. This includes the safety of workers and contractors. I have to identify what qualifies as a confined space, when is it required to use fall protection, and general safety of all employs. Since I been working here I picked up more helpful learning certificates that will make me more marketable in this field. I have my 582 NIOSH license, and my asbestos inspector’s license. With these I could also branch out on my own and have my own consultant business. I would recommend to anybody that is in the environmental field to look into getting the 582 NIOSH class. It’s a onetime class that you can carry with you for a long time. On average a person takes 50 air sample at a time to get analyzed. Those 50 samples can range from six thousand to four thousand dollars to have done. With this license you can do the analytical testing yourself.

Graduate:  Barbara Gavin, River Star Homes program manager for the Elizabeth River Project
2016 – Old  Dominion University

Ms. Gavin’s Environmental Health related success story:

During my junior year at Old Dominion University, I completed an internship with the Elizabeth River Project – a local Non-Profit group working to restore the Elizabeth River, once presumed dead as one of the most polluted rivers on the Chesapeake Bay. The internship opened my eyes to the vast environmental restoration efforts happening in Hampton Roads, home to the city with the fastest rate of sea level rise on the East Coast (Norfolk, VA). It was phenomenal seeing over 100 businesses come together with homeowners and elected officials to emphasize the need for environmental stewardship. Upon graduating in 2016, ERP hired me to manage the River Star Homes program – which has since expanded to over 5,000 homeowners committed to a cleaner Elizabeth River. I have the opportunity to assist homeowners with the design, implementation and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that reduce stormwater pollution and in turn improve water quality in the River. Projects like living shorelines, oyster reefs, rain gardens, and rain barrels have prevented hundreds of pounds of pollutants from entering the River - specifically nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment.

I use the resources and knowledge I gained in the EHS program constantly, especially when I get to work with our River Star Businesses program, which works side by side as a guiding program with EHS managers across the region at Naval shipyards, marine terminals, universities and many more. We assist with implementing environmental stewardship projects - from oyster gardening (growing baby oysters for one year, then placing them on sanctuary reefs) to building living shorelines and stormwater retention projects at their facilities.

I am very grateful for the EHS program professors that made sure those of us in the program knew how many different ways our degree could take us. I am honored to represent Old Dominion as a leader in environmental restoration in the same watershed the school campus resides in.

What drew you to the study Environmental Health?

Most of my free time as a child was spent on the Nottoway River or in the Chesapeake Bay. When I was choosing my college path in high school, an advisor asked what I was interested in and my first thought was protecting the bodies of water I loved. I was elated to find out this career field existed and I would get the chance to study something I was so passionate about. The Environmental Health Program at ODU taught me to see not only the impact humans have on our environment, but also the ways our work environment can impact our health. Once in the program, I joined and eventually became president of the Old Dominion Chapter of the Student National Environmental Health Association. SNEHA provided a great window into the many paths someone with an EHS degree could take and it truly confirmed that the EHS program at ODU was teaching us real world tools and resources that we would need in our jobs. 

Graduate:  Kingsley Anyaim Kalu, Research Assistant with the Department of Veterinary Science and Public Health
2018 – East Tennessee State University, MS Environmental Science

Kalu teaching - on left in lab coat

Mr. Anyaim Kalu’s Environmental Health related success story and what drew him to environmental health:

My Name is Kingsley Kalu, a physician that practiced for five years in a low-income country where environmental factors play a role in the prevalence of infectious disease and vaccine preventable disease.  My interest in environmental health started during my one-year mandatory National Youth Service Scheme in Nigeria. I was posted to a community of about 200 people whose residents were mostly farmers. Every clinic day, I was presented with cases of high grade fever (Malaria) especially in children and pregnant women. There was also a high rate of anemia in pregnant women, miscarriages and mortality. Waste was disposed of indiscriminately throughout the community and pools of stagnant water were evident that put citizens at risk for mosquito borne illnesses. It was not surprising children less than five years and pregnant women had the highest number of outpatient visits when compared to other community populations. This gave me a clue to the many environmental risk factors that exposed residents to prevalent medical conditions in this community. I and my clinical team reached out to the local government chairman to try and intercede in the fight against mosquito borne illnesses and were able to procure and provide mosquito treated net for use within the community

I also educated the residents through community programs on the importance of proper use of mosquito treated nets, hygienic cleansing practices and environmental sanitation of the community. Through my presentations to the community, I explained to residents using images, the short and long term effect of the malaria infection to children and pregnant women and why and how they should be protected.  Over the next three months, there was a drastic drop in the out-patient clinic attendance especially for children and pregnant women. This positive influence stimulated my interest in the effects of environmental infectious disease on maternal and child health.

As a Masters student of the Department of Environmental Health at the Fort Valley State University, I conducted a retrospective study on lead exposure in children less than 5 years old at the Woolfolk chemical site in Fort Valley, Georgia. This thesis presentation won first place in the poster competition at the 2017 Annual Georgia Environmental Health Association (GEHA) Environmental Health Conference held at Sea Palms Resort, St Simon Island. I also worked with faculty members on a separate research project addressing the novel use of probiotics in the treatment of mastitis in dairy goats.

As a physician who is used to treating diseases and managing co-morbidities, I have come to the understanding that humans interact with the environment constantly. The knowledge of environmental health has helped me to understand the inter-relationship between the environment and people, a relationship that plays a key role in preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.

Presently, I work as a research assistant with the Department of Veterinary Science and Public Health where I’m involved in departmental research projects in community mosquito tracking, mastitis prevention and treatment by probiotics in dairy goats as well as collection of experimental data for faculty researcher/professors. I also supervise undergraduate students working on research projects and tutor both undergraduate and graduate students in Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Terminology and Veterinary Microbiology.

My career goal is to pursue a PhD in environmental health and also become a practicing physician in the United States. Through these initiatives, I would have the ability to develop intervention programs to help low-income and developing countries create effective laws or programs to improve the health of its populace, prevent epidemics and educate health workers on how to execute these intervention programs for survivors of adverse events.

There’s a proverb in Africa which states ‘that a giant tree is a product of many roots in the ground’. My journey so far would have been an uphill task without God, my parents, the support of Dr. Samples and other faculty members to whom I owe much gratitude. I am privileged to have been a product of this citadel of knowledge.