“My practice is industrial hygiene; my passion is teaching people about disease prevention, science and health,” University of South Florida student Ms. Katelynn Glisson said.
Ms. Glisson was recently awarded two scholarships from the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF). She was selected as the 2017 – 2018 recipient of the Florida Local Selection Scholarship for $1,250 and the 2017 – 2018 recipient of an AIHF Scholarship in the amount of $2,000.
AIHF is a charitable organization that operates exclusively for educational, scientific, literary, and research purposes. Its mission is to advance the profession by awarding scholarships for students in industrial hygiene and related disciplines.
“As a scholarship recipient, we are confident that you will carry on the tradition of excellence that has become synonymous with these awards,” said Ms. Thursa Percoraro, manager of Local Sections in the Professional Community and Foundation at the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
While an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Ms. Glisson originally started out pursuing a degree in nursing but after researching the fast food industry for an informative speech she switched to the field of public health.
“It opened my eyes to the issues with nutrition, obesity and toxicology. After this speech, I decided I wanted to work on the prevention side of healthcare instead of intervention,” she said. “It is empowering knowing that we are able to help others live longer and healthier lives with things as simple as education.”
After earning her bachelors degree in public health, Ms. Glisson joined South Florida to pursue an MSPH in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.
Ms. Glisson said she chose South Florida because she knew that she would be getting a quality education that meets the high standards of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and that the college would provide her with a challenge.
“Acquiring my masters is much more entertaining than an undergrad degree because you are continually studying a topic that is of interest to you,” she said. “As an industrial hygienist, I love a challenge. If I didn’t think South Florida was going to be a challenge, I would have chosen a different school.”
Ms. Glisson is currently working as an environmental health intern with NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Her duties include assisting the industrial hygienists and health physicists at all 14 NASA sites. She also works on health promotions and answers questions the sites might have.
“I get to learn about what NASA is currently doing as well as about all kinds of different topics in environmental health,” she said. “No day is ever the same while working here. I am able to travel to various locations and get to meet all kinds of people in many different fields and agencies.”
Ms. Glisson plans on graduating in December 2017. Post-graduation, she will serve three years as an industrial hygienist in the U.S. Navy.
“My time in the program has been extremely rewarding. I have been able to work alongside professionals in my field and gain a better understanding of what is expected of me in the “real world.” The professors are easy to work with, but expect a lot out of their students,” Ms. Glisson said, “I have become not only a better industrial hygienist, but a better person since entering this program.”