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USU Industrial Hygiene Student Group Receives Top Industry Honor

Thursday, Jun. 06, 2013

USU students from Industrial Hygiene Utah section

From left, USU industrial hygiene lecturer David Wallace, recent graduates Morgan Freestone and Kyle Naylor, and USU alum Nick Rice, president of AIHA's Utah Section, celebrate as USU’s student section receives a top association honor.

Industrial Hygiene students conducting a repirator fit test

Aggies Gilbert Nelson, Kyle Naylor and Morgan Freestone conduct respirator fit testing at Harris Research, a manufacturer of cleaning products. USU has one of only four of the nation's ABET-accredited undergraduate industrial hygiene programs.

Utah State University’s Student Local Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association was named 2012-13 “Student Local Section of the Year” at the association’s annual conference and exposition held May 18-23, 2013, in Montréal, Canada.

The USU section received a plaque and $1,000 cash award.

“Our students really deserve this honor,” said David Wallace, principal lecturer in USU Department of Biology’s Industrial Hygiene program and faculty mentor for the section. “They worked hard all year. The award is a great testament to the high quality of our students and our industrial hygiene program.”

Wallace accompanied USU 2012-13 section officers Kyle Naylor and Morgan Freestone, both 2013 graduates of Utah State, to the conference, where the students accepted the award on behalf of the student section’s 45 members.

“I think USU’s Industrial Hygiene program is one of the university’s best kept campus secrets,” says Naylor, who was recently hired by Rio Tinto after serving a student internship with the multinational mining company. “But a lot of employers and industrial hygiene professionals around the nation know about Utah State.”

USU’s industrial hygiene program, part of the biology department’s public health program, is one of only four undergraduate programs in the nation accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. Industrial hygiene is a component of workplace safety that deals specifically with protecting workers from health hazards.

“Most of the AIHA student local sections represent graduate programs,” says Freestone, who starts a position with Chevron in Houston this month. “So, as a section and as individuals, we’re usually competing with graduate students in AIHA academic competitions. But we still excel.”

Over the past year, USU’s AIHA section hosted speakers from such companies as Chevron, Freeport McMoRan, Autoliv, Barrick Gold and made field trips to regional industries. In addition, the Aggies pursued community outreach activities, including helping with a science fair at Smithfield, Utah’s, Sunrise Elementary School and presenting at USU’s Diversity Days event for multicultural middle school students.

The section also participated in fundraising and professional development activities, including conducting contaminant sampling at TTM Technologies and Icon Health and Fitness, as well as dust sampling at Pepperidge Farm’s Richmond, Utah, plant, respirator fit testing at Logan, Utah’s, Harris Research and noise mapping at Tremonton, Utah’s, Malt-O-Meal manufacturing facility.

Freestone and Naylor credit strong faculty mentorship as a key component of USU’s excellence.

“Dave Wallace is very well respected in the industrial hygiene field and brings a lot of enthusiasm to the program,” Naylor says. “Faculty member John Flores works so hard to get students lined up with industry internships. Most of the students in this program have job offers right out of school.”

More than 25 students in USU’s industrial hygiene program were placed in 2013 summer industry internships. Twelve of the program’s 2013 graduating seniors accepted professional career offers.

Wallace was also recognized at the 2013 conference, as a newly inducted AIHA Fellow [].

USU student Clark Evans, 2012-13 section treasurer, was one of 25 students nationally to receive a 2013 American Industrial Hygiene Foundation Scholarship.

During the conference, USU’s delegation received word student Gilbert Nelson, past secretary and president-elect of Utah State’s section, was awarded another industry accolade: Nelson is the recipient of a $3,500 scholarship from the American Society of Safety Engineers. He is currently serving a summer health and safety internship with Boeing in Everett, Wash.

“There are so many opportunities in public health,” Naylor says. “Industrial Hygiene is a great field of study for someone who’s interested in biology, chemistry, health and applied science. This field can take you lots of places.”

Related links:

Contact: John Flores, 435-797-8194,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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