Gabriella “Gabby” Mendez, a student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in El Paso, will graduate this semester with a Master of Public Health degree in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS). Entering the program in fall 2018, Mendez will be the first student to earn the EOHS MPH at the El Paso campus.
“I’m really happy Gabriella achieved this goal and that UTHealth School of Public Health in El Paso was able to provide this educational and practical experience for her,” said Kristina Mena, MSPH, PhD, associate professor and regional dean. As a native of El Paso, Mendez decided to stay close to home to address the public health challenges faced by those in her local community. “I am really happy that I made the decision to attend the El Paso campus because everyone has been extremely helpful. The faculty and staff always answered any questions that I had regarding my program and always kept my best interests in mind,” says Mendez.
While enrolled in the program, Mendez completed her practicum at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 El Paso Border Office. “I worked on the U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 and assisted with the toxic release inventory. I created fact sheets to summarize emissions along the border,” says Mendez. She first learned of the practicum opportunity by attending the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) meetings in El Paso. The JAC serves at the local community-based organization overseeing the process to achieve cleaner air for the Paso Del Norte Region, an air group under the La Paz Agreement. “I met the EPA El Paso Border office director, Dr. Carlos Rincon, and he mentioned that they had student interns at the El Paso Border Office. I kept this in mind when it was time to decide where I wanted to complete my practicum.”
After completing her studies, Mendez will join Amazon as an Environmental Health Specialist in Silicon Valley. As an Environmental Health Specialist, Mendez will serve as the designated safety representative for her assigned fulfillment center and will coordinate and implement all areas of the Amazon Global Safety Program. “I am very excited to be working for Amazon in the role of an EHS. I hope to maintain a safe working environment. I am hoping to implement what I have learned in the EOHS program at UTHealth School of Public Health. I also hope to continue learning more about the field.”