When I first decided to choose science as my study and career path I, like many good science students, thought I was heading to medical school. Little did I know that taking one course in environmental studies would change all that!
You may ask yourself, “Environmental studies: how did you take the jump from that to industrial hygiene?” Well, it was simple really. Both studies are dedicated to protecting people and the environment. By taking that one course, it led me to environmental engineering and hazardous materials (e.g., asbestos and mold) and ultimately to worker exposure. I had no idea when I started my first job that I had chosen a career that leads from the heart. Daily, I get the opportunity to make workplaces safer and protect people’s health.
I knew early on in my career that I wanted to be a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH). My mentors, who shaped who I am today, were CIHs, and I knew that I wanted to be able to provide the same level of professional expertise as they did. The only way to do that was to achieve the same level of education and experience and participate in the same rigorous testing as they had. Achieving my CIH was a major milestone in my career, and it was not an easy path for me (passing the exam while on maternity leave!). I had worked hard for my certification, and it only made me more passionate about using my expertise to help others.
The pictures I have showcased represent two values that guide me through the practice of industrial (occupational) hygiene: to lead by example and to take the initiative to make things better. The first picture represents leading by example: ensuring that I wear the appropriate personal protective equipment, not only for my protection but for the protection of the workers around me. In the second photo, I am showing off my “MacGyver skills” and how I manufactured a belt out of tape for a worker to keep the sampling pump from pulling on their clothing.
These two values inspired me to raise my hand to join the Board for Global EHS Credentialing and what guides me as I represent our current and future Diplomates. I am honored that I was chosen to serve as a Board member, and I am inspired by our mission to elevate the standards for professionals dedicated to protecting the health and safety of people and the environment.
Kelly Fernandes, MCs, CIH
The BGC blog is intended to serve as a professional discussion of the challenges faced by our certificants and a celebration of their accomplishments. Comments in support of that goal are welcome. It is not a general discussion forum and negative comments or airing of grievances will not be posted. If you have any comments, concerns, or other issues not covered by the blog, please email Info@GoBGC.org. Thank you.