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Logan — Utah State University’s Student local section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association was named 2012-13 Student Local Section of the Year at the association’s annual conference and exposition held May 18-23, in Montréal, Canada.
The USU section received a plaque and $1,000 cash award.
“Our students really deserve this honor,” said David Wallace, principal lecturer in USU Department of Biology’s industrial hygiene program and faculty mentor for the section. “They worked hard all year. The award is a great testament to the high quality of our students and our industrial hygiene program.”
Wallace accompanied USU 2012-13 section officers Kyle Naylor and Morgan Freestone, both 2013 graduates of Utah State, to the conference, where the students accepted the award on behalf of the student section’s 45 members.
“I think USU’s Industrial Hygiene program is one of the university’s best kept campus secrets,” said Naylor, who was recently hired by Rio Tinto after serving a student internship with the mining company. “But a lot of employers and industrial hygiene professionals around the nation know about Utah State.”
USU’s industrial hygiene program, part of the biology department’s public health program, is one of only four undergraduate programs in the nation accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. Industrial hygiene is a component of workplace safety that deals specifically with protecting workers from health hazards.
“Most of the AIHA student local sections represent graduate programs,” said Freestone, who is slated to start a position with Chevron in Houston this month. “So, as a section and as individuals, we’re usually competing with graduate students in AIHA academic competitions. But we still excel.”
Over the past year, USU’s AIHA section hosted speakers from such companies as Chevron, Freeport McMoRan, Autoliv, Barrick Gold and made field trips to regional industries. In addition, the Aggies pursued community outreach activities, including helping with a science fair at Smithfield, Utah’s, Sunrise Elementary School and presenting at USU’s Diversity Days event for multicultural middle school students.
The section also participated in fundraising and professional development activities, including conducting contaminant sampling at TTM Technologies and Icon Health and Fitness, as well as dust sampling at Pepperidge Farm’s Richmond, Utah, plant, respirator fit testing at Logan, Utah’s, Harris Research and noise mapping at Tremonton, Utah’s, Malt-O-Meal manufacturing facility.
More than 25 students in USU’s industrial hygiene program were placed in 2013 summer industry internships. Twelve of the program’s 2013 graduating seniors accepted professional career offers.
USU student Clark Evans, 2012-13 section treasurer, was one of 25 students nationally to receive a 2013 American Industrial Hygiene Foundation Scholarship.
“There are so many opportunities in public health,” Naylor says. “Industrial Hygiene is a great field of study for someone who’s interested in biology, chemistry, health and applied science. This field can take you lots of places.”