HCC alum explains life as an industrial hygienist

March 10, 2017

HCC alum Jennifer Holliday (’12) landed an exclusive position with HSE Solutions Inc., a comprehensive health, safety, and environmental consulting company. As an industrial hygienist, she works to protect the health of workers by evaluating exposures to chemical, physical, and biological stressors, and if necessary, offers practical solutions to manage and control illnesses.

Her unique career path started at HCC where she completed her associate in science degree. According to Holliday, there were two influential professors who challenged her to succeed in coursework. “John Muench and Verona Barr added coursework, tasks and activities that were challenging for me and pushed me to really learn the material. It has helped me today and I thank them for their dedication to students’ learning,” Holliday said.

After her time at Heartland, Holliday transferred to Illinois State University (ISU) where she received her Bachelor’s in Health and Sciences in 2014, majoring in Environmental Health and minoring in Biological Sciences.

Career Choice

In her last semester at ISU, Holliday was required to obtain an internship in her field of study. She worked as an intern with Flint Hills Resources and due to the help of her mentor and strong networking skills, Holliday was fortunate enough to have a full time salary job lined up with HSE Solutions Inc. following her graduation date.

Holliday exhibits a tremendous amount of passion for her role as an industrial hygienist. She typically travels one to one and a half hours away from her home to conduct surveys and interview workers about their day in order to identify problems. “I am passionate about what I do as it truly holds a place deep in my heart,” Holliday said. “My ultimate goal at the end of the day is to send everyone home to their families. Everyone goes home with their health and their life.”

She goes on to say there are positives and negatives to any job. “With travel and work, sometimes my workday can be 15 to 16 hours. When I do not have to be on a worksite, I get to stay home with my family and work from my home office.”

Do What You Love

Trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life can be tricky for most individuals. Holliday suggests going into a field that you love. “If you can’t say that you love your job at the end of the day, then it may not be the right one for you.”

She also added that Heartland students should not be afraid of networking opportunities. “Just say hello and introduce yourself. You never know who may be the key to help you get you to the next level.”

Next Steps

Holliday plans to earn her CSP (Certified Safety Professional) and CIH (Certified Industrial Hygienist) certificates. Both certifications will help her stand out in the field. Overall, she is looking forward to her next level of achievement and potentially working for a larger company in the future.

Written by: Madison Einbecker