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American Society of Safety Engineers’ Foundation Scholarship Recipients Note Challenges, Rewards When Entering a Career in Safety, Survey Says
Des Plaines, IL (September 16, 2008) — Earning respect, gaining experience, increasing knowledge and getting a foot in the door were just some of the rewards survey respondents noted in a recent American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and ASSE Foundation “where are they now” survey of past ASSE Foundation scholarship recipients. Respondents also noted that some of the challenges included gaining buy-in from management for new safety programs and overcoming a learning curve in the new job.

With the safety, health and environmental (SH&E) profession growing along with demand for SH&E professionals in the field, ASSE and the ASSE Foundation recently conducted this research survey to see where the scholarship recipients are now, how it helped and what the rewards and challenges of the workplace are today. Results indicate that many former recipients are continuing with their education or starting careers in safety, health and the environment in many industries including manufacturing, construction, technology, energy, health, insurance and non-profit.

ASSE sent out questionnaires to 154 past ASSE Foundation scholarship recipients from the year 2000 to 2008, receiving responses from 16 percent of those surveyed.

For recipients who have entered the workforce, when asked what challenges they are experiencing in the SH&E profession, the majority of respondents noted that it is sometimes a challenge to get management and/or older workers to buy into new safety programs. Another challenge included being a young safety professional, often having a large learning curve to manage and getting workers to acknowledge a new graduate in the safety field. Training and management were also noted as challenges recipients face in the SH&E profession.

Matt Garner now serves as health, safety and environmental coordinator for ConocoPhillips. He received the UPS Scholarship while pursuing his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Engineering Technology in Fire Protection and Safety from Oklahoma State University.

As a young professional in the Project Development group at ConocoPhillips, Garner said, “Often times I face challenges that involve being a young safety professional. I have a steep learning curve which is manageable. I also face challenges from other more experienced personnel that wish to challenge my knowledge and my direction due to the fact I am a ‘college graduate.’ Thankfully, due to my knowledge of the safety profession and my desire to learn, I have been able to reduce this over time.”

Jeremy Dixon, past recipient of the Gulf Coast Past Presidents Scholarship, now serves as regional health, safety and environmental manager for Menasha Packaging Company LLC. He completed his Bachelor’s of Safety Sciences at Indiana University of Pennsylvania after receiving the scholarship. Dixon also noted that some of the challenges he faces in the profession include management buy-in and balancing education. Some of the SH&E issues he works with are guarding and lock out/tag out.

Most of the recipients who responded also noted that the scholarships helped them with many aspects of their schooling. In general, the scholarships helped recipients purchase books, equipment and supplies; conduct research; contribute to tuition payments; gain more experience in the safety and health field through internships; and helped some with living expenses. Most recipients who responded also noted that the awards helped them concentrate on their studies to maintain good grades.

Dan Snyder, a past recipient of the Bechtel Group Foundation Scholarship, earned his Bachelor’s degree in Safety Science at Indiana University of Pennsylvania this May and will begin a full time position with Chevron. His interest in the SH&E profession began with his father, who was a coal mine safety inspector.

Snyder said that the Foundation scholarship “was one of the greatest blessings I have ever received. I was paying for all of my school and living expenses while attending school, which included books, school supplies, room and board, and tuition. The scholarship helped me pay for a bit of all of these things and provided me with a way and opportunity to gain safety knowledge and experience by helping with some travel expenses to an internship.”

Currently a doctoral candidate in the College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island, Marcella Thompson CSP, COHN-S, also noted that the James P. Kohn Memorial Scholarship she received helped her with school expenses as well as some of her doctoral research. Her area of interest includes environmental safety.

Other recipients found that the scholarship helped them continue their education. Kahyun Kim is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with Human Factors Engineering/ Ergonomics option at Virginia Tech. In December 2006, she received her Bachelor's degree in Safety Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Kim, who received the ASSE Region IV Edwin P. Granberry Scholarship, said that the award “helped me pay for accommodations during my internship with American Airlines in the summer of 2006. It also awarded me with a good reputation when applying for graduate schools.”

The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation, established by and in partnership with the American Society of Safety Engineers, generates funding and provides resources for scholarship, applied research, academic accreditation, and related academic initiatives in order to advance the safety, health, and environmental profession. The Foundation is offering nearly $135,000 in scholarships and grants for 2009. For more information on the Foundation, scholarships, grants and its programs visit

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to
American Society of Safety Engineers • 1800 East Oakton Street • Des Plaines, Illinois • 60018-2187
Phone 847.699.2929 • Fax 847.296.3769 •