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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

Brittany Carroll, MPH

BCarroll

I currently work at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. as an Industrial Hygienist. My work experience also Apex Companiesm for whom I conducted and assisted upon Industrial Hygiene assessments and written reports detailing results and recommendations at their Houston office. Apex Companies is a leading engineering and environmental consulting firm that serves the public and private sectors. I am a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). 

What led you to public health and to occupational & environmental health in particular?

I was drawn to Occupational and Environmental Health through my undergraduate education in Toxicology, which I received from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. At ULM, I received education in Industrial Hygiene, which allowed me to put my Toxicology education in real-world applications to educate and assist workers who may not be aware of potential risks of their work environment. I was attracted to further my education at UTHealth to due to its proximity to large industry and course offerings that allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the Industrial Hygiene field.

Tell us about your work. What is an average day like for you?

There is no average day for a consultant! Every day brings its own adventure. One day, or for several days, I am conducting an Industrial Hygiene assessment in a variety of fields that allows me to employ the full breadth of my education. On other days, there are reports to be written following on-site assessments to communicate results and recommendations to company leaders.  Another perk of consulting with Apex Companies, in my opinion, is travelling! Consultants travel across Texas, the Southeast, and parts of the West to serve our clients. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, interacting with coworkers is severely limited due to working from home if not conducting an on-site assessment. Most communication is through email or Microsoft Teams until we are allowed to gather again.

How did your education as a SWCOEH ERC trainee at UTHealth School of Public Health prepare you for your current career?

The courses I found most helpful were Environmental Sampling & Analysis, Occupational Health Field Trips, and Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene. These courses allowed me to gain vital hands-on experience, which I have used with Apex Companies. Dr. Whitehead and Dr. Han were great resources for me to lean on for education and career advice during my time at UTHealth. I think the most valuable opportunities I had at UTHealth were the labs for Industrial Hygiene courses, which allowed me to gain experience handling equipment and learning calculations, both extremely helpful when I took the Certified Industrial Hygiene (CIH) exam.

What advice do you have for students pursuing a SWCOEH ERC traineeship leading to a career in public health?

Get all of the hands-on experience you can get and as much exposure to the industry you are looking into before diving into it fully. Seek out internships, pay attention in labs, and lean on your professors for their advice and wisdom. This traineeship gave me every opportunity to succeed and because of the traineeship I was able to secure my dream job of travelling while doing Industrial Hygiene!