Laboratory safety and compliance manager
University of Georgia
Please briefly describe your current job:
I currently supervise a team of laboratory safety and compliance inspectors at the University of Georgia (I still bleed white and gold). We have approximately 1,800 research laboratories on campus that require periodic inspections to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations as well as university specific policies.
What is your favorite part of your current position:
It is a challenging job but ultimately rewarding. Our goal is to enhance research efforts by helping researchers navigate the web of regulatory requirements that they often see as a nuisance or hindrance. Being able to relieve some of that burden for them is what we seek to do.
How did your EAS education prepare you for your current job?:
When it comes to course content, I would say that the courses that required students to develop their own project or experiment were the most helpful. I specifically remember Earth Systems Modeling and Environmental Field Methods because they required us to develop a project and follow it through many iterations and re-workings to a final product. This, I have discovered, has been very helpful when approaching the development and implementation of special projects in a professional seeting. I would also have to say that the collaborative approach that was taken with the Environmental Field Methods course was particularly memorable as well. Having to work with my classmates to coalesce around single ideas and research findings despite doing many individual experiments certainly prepared me for the team meetings and project oversight that seems to be a never ending part of my current job.
What do you wish you had known as an EAS undergraduate in order to land the job of your dreams?:
Another less tangible thing I wish I had realized was that emotional development and leadership skills were just as important to develop as memorizing the course content. It took a few years in the professional world and a graduate degree in something completely unrelated to EAS before I realized this. If I had realized it sooner, I would have spent more time conversing with leaders in the field instead of trying to simply study for the next test. Perhaps this is just something you learn with time and perhaps other undergraduates discover this more quickly than I, but my most memorable lessons were not learned in a classroom.