Britt Cantrell Carter (BSEH ’09) is epidemiology manager at the Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Departments. Alongside a team of epidemiologists, nurses, communicable disease specialists and others, she monitors and assists in the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases in those communities. Britt found Dr. Luke Naeher’s ‘Environmental Air Quality’ and Dr. Anne Marie Zimeri’s ‘Solid and Hazardous Waste’ classes to be crucial to her education in the field.
Within just a few months of graduating from UGA, Britt found a job as an environmental health specialist for Gwinnett County, but always knew she wanted to focus on the intersection of environmental health and infectious diseases. After two years in the field, she returned to school full-time as an MPH student at Georgia State College before returning to a local health department. In 2017, she became a NEHA-certified Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian.
Britt has a number of fond memories from her time as an EHS undergraduate student, including waking up early to join the Environmental Health Science Club on a mission to do roadside cleanup along College Station Road. To this day, she still remembers reading the 2009 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report for the first time and wondering how one could possibly deny the validity of climate change.
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental health, Taylor Radke (BSEH ‘12, MPH ‘14) went straight into UGA’s Master of Public Health program, focusing on epidemiology. Since then, she’s been working as a public health analyst with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studying a variety of major public health issues ranging from women’s health to the opioid epidemic and food safety. A CDC ORISE Fellowship in food safety allowed her to make use of her background in both environmental health (knowledge) and epidemiology (analysis).
After taking Dr. Anne Marie Zimeri’s ‘Intro to Environmental Health Science’ on a whim, Taylor ended up switching her undergraduate major from Biology to Environment Science, as well as serving as a College of Public Health Ambassador during her junior and senior years. Through her experiences so far, she’s had the exciting opportunity to travel across the country presenting her research at conferences for organizations like the National Environmental Health Association, International Association for Food Protection, and Integrated Foodborne Outbreak Response and Management. Taylor hopes to continue to grow on a career path that combines her passion for the environment with the rigorous data-driven methodology of epidemiology.
Yasmin Asghari graduated with B.S. in environmental health in 2015. She now works as a Senior Environmental Health Safety and Sustainability (EESS) Leader at GATX Corporation, which manages one of the largest railcar leasing fleets in the world. AT GATX, Yasmin provides EHSS project support to ensure that railcar maintenance facilities meet annual EHSS objectives, targets and goals. Last year, she worked to implement auto-darkening helmets to reduce eye-related injuries and improve respiratory protection among workers, and is now responsible for the building of a network-wide sustainability platform.
During her time as a student in the UGA Environmental Health Science Department, Yasmin found her classes in ‘Industrial Hygiene’ most valuable to her current occupation, although ‘Environmental Chemistry‘ was still crucial to her understanding of green chemistry used a GATX. Her participation in the EHS Club was also a great tool for getting her industry exposure and better acquainted with her options post-graduation. Today at GATX, she frequently travels across North America for auditing and management assignments, and has also enjoyed the opportunity to attend conferences like that of 3M’s Emerging Leaders.
Laura Hallett’s (BSEH ‘15) experiences in the field of industrial hygiene as an undergraduate student in the UGA EHS program motivated her to seek a Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Health from the University of Iowa in 2017. She now works as an associate health scientist at Cardno ChemRisk in Pittsburg, Pa. In UGA’s EHS program, she particularly enjoyed classes that dealt with such issues as environmental concerns in the developing world, air quality, and other public policy matters, and came to think of herself more as a global citizen. In her current work, she most often returns to what she learned in Toxicology and Epidemiology, as most of her responsibilities fall under the umbrella of classic industrial hygiene.
One of her favorite classes at UGA was ‘Organic Agriculture: Ecological Agriculture and the Ethics of Sustainability,’ where she was able to spend many mornings working in the field—an experience that fundamentally changed how she looks at the food she eats and gave her a great deal of respect for small farmers. The supply of fresh blueberries to pick was a particular perk.
Callie Manley, who graduated with a B.S in environmental health in 2016, is an industrial hygiene specialist in Emory University’s Environmental Health & Safety Office. There are a number of potential hazards unique to occupations found on university campuses, including lab researchers, construction workers, maintenance technicians and animal research scientists. Callie’s program is charged with ensuring all university employees are properly informed, trained, and operating in a safe manner. During her time at UGA, Callie found classes such as ‘Environmental Law,’ ‘Industrial Hygiene,’ and ‘Environmental Health’ most applicable to her current career.
Callie enjoys working with industrial hygiene monitoring, ensuring workers are not overexposed to certain chemicals and hazards including silica and asbestos at active construction sites, formaldehyde in gross-anatomy and animal research laboratories, and heat stress and exposure in steam tunnels and other confined spaces. One of her favorite duties at Emory is the monthly meeting with her “zone.” Over donuts, Callie meets neighboring supervisors and mechanics to discuss “toolbox topics” and any other safety concerns that have arisen in the past month. The event serves as a regular reminder of the importance of job safety and ensuring that all workers are able to return home to their loved ones each day.
Medicine and Health Services
As a medical student at August University/UGA Medical Partnership, EHS alumnus Osii Mbata (BSEH ‘14), has found opportunities to integrate his training in medicine with public health issues. His work with rehab centers has allowed him improve patient outcomes and determining and studying common risk factors for relapses. He’s also had the privilege of helping create proposals for school-based health centers with the hope of improving healthcare access for underserved children and reducing reliance on emergency services.
Osii strongly believes that the classes he took as an undergraduate at UGA in Environmental Health Science were crucial to his desired career and provided practical applications of the concepts he would most rely on. If he had to choose, the most impactful class was Dr. Marsha Black’s ‘Issues in the Developing World’, which exposed him to developing health crises the world over. Since then, he’s hoped that in the future he might be able to join mission trips in improving healthcare and training providers abroad. Similarly, the undergraduate research internship Osii underwent with Dr. Black was his first practical experience in that area that brought together both conditions of healthcare and the environment, not to mention including opportunities to travel in the field, collecting various specimens at different locations, such as oysters in the waterways of Brunswick, Georgia.
For Ariell Lawrence (BSEH ’11), earning a B.S. in environmental science has served as an unlikely launchpad into a career in the film and TV industry. Since 2017 and with some additional training from the Georgia Film Academy, she’s wrapped up work as a production assistant in props on MTV’s ‘Scream’ Season 3, as well as ‘Lore’, an Amazon original series that sometimes touches on public health concerns. Ari sees herself as a steward of the environment on the set and is now training to become a dedicated “Eco PA,” where she’ll be responsible for keeping film production ecologically responsible. In the role, she will make sustainable practices are in place, such as recycling batteries used on the set to donating and, reusing props, clothing and set decorations.
After completing her degree at UGA, Ariell gained experience in the field as intern with Georgia Power’s Environmental Affairs team, and as a recycling coordinator with the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. At the NIH, Ariell regularly called on her experiences of classes with Dr. Anne Zimeri, Dr. Marsha Black, and Dr. Mary Ann Smith, and during the government shutdown in 2013, was not furloughed due to her important status as a US Public Health Service officer. In this role, Ariell had the opportunities to work as member of the stateside administrative staff supporting USPHS officers deployed to Liberia during the 2014 Ebola Epidemic.