Every month, we honor ASTSWMO’s dedicated membership with our ASTSWMO Member Spotlight Series. Each featured member will share how they entered the field of environmental public health, what their message would be, and why they are happy to be a part of ASTSWMO!
March 2023 Women’s History Month
February 2023 Black History Month
How did you get interested in a career in protecting public health and the environment?
I originally had plans to attend medical school, but after taking a graduate class in environmental engineering, I decided I was more interested in a career as a public servant working to protect the environment. Working in the environmental field also connected me to those times growing up and farming with my dad and brothers. My dad always exhibited a profound respect for the land, water, and air. We were taught to treat the land with respect and in turn the land provided an abundant fruit of our labor. So, in many ways, my passion was rooted at an early age and I am compelled to continue to make my dad proud.
What do you want the next generation of young professionals, especially people of color to know about this field and the value/impacts?
Understanding the importance of a healthy environment and the role we all play in this effort transcends age, race, and color. But we have to create a space in the discussion to address any unfair exposure of marginalized communities and the long-standing impacts. Just like my dad expressed the value of environmental stewardship, it is important that young professionals always have a spirit of curiosity and just get started engaging in the effort to create a better environment. In the words of Mark Victor Hansen, “Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.”