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Jeffrey R. Walls Named 2011 Future Leader in EHS

Nov. 21, 2011
A judging panel of representatives from EHS Today, PureSafety and EHS Today’s editorial board sifted through a stack of scholarship applications submitted by a host of bright, ambitious students pursuing degrees in EHS-related fields. Many qualified students tossed their hats into the ring, but in the end, one winner emerged to claim the prize: Jeffrey R. Walls.

Walls, who is pursuing his M.S. in environmental and occupational exposure science at the University of Washington, was selected as the winner of this $5,000 scholarship based on his academic performance, community work, future goals and his attention to underrepresented worker populations.

"What really pushed [Walls] to No. 1 in my mind is his interest in helping a population that really needs an EHS focus – the immigrant population," one of the judges commented. "I was very impressed and feel he could really make the scholarship money go far."

Created in 2010, the Future Leaders program supports and encourage EHS students as they respond to the challenges of the 21st century workplace and lead the way in keeping tomorrow's workers safe, healthy and on the job. PureSafety, a leading provider of results-driven software and information solutions for work force safety and health, and EHS Today partnered to create this scholarship program.

Walls will receive a $5,000 scholarship, will serve on the EHS Today Editorial Advisory Board for 2 years and will be profiled in the December 2011 print issue of EHS Today. In addition, the University of Washington will receive 1 year of free access to PureSafety’s work force safety and health software and information solutions.

"I have spent the majority of my professional career working side-by-side with people from marginalized populations (primarily immigrants from Latin America)," Walls wrote in his application. "I am continually impressed and humbled by the sorts of working environments people will tolerate, so long as it allows them to support their families. In ten years I would like to be in a role and have enough technical expertise to protect the health of workers who are otherwise underrepresented in the workplace."

Mary Ellen L. Hicks Named Runner Up

The judges were so impressed by student Mary Ellen L. Hicks that they decided to award her the sole runner up position – which was no small feat when considering the talented pool of applicants.

Hicks is working toward her Master of Public Health in industrial hygiene and hazardous substances at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is the chair of the American Industrial Hygiene Association Student Local Section Council, the president of the University of Michigan Industrial Hygiene Student Association and the EHS department chair for the University of Michigan Public Health Student Assembly. She hopes to one day work as an EHS professional in the heavy industry sector.

"I enjoy the heavy industrial environment since in my experience, there are many challenging safety and health issues involving a wide variety of subject matters, from confined spaces, ergonomic risks and asbestos abatement to management of an effective hazardous communication program," she wrote in her application.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Walls and Mary Ellen Hicks for their efforts in the EHS field so far. Clearly, these two students face successful – and safe – futures.

Look for the upcoming article “Future Leader in EHS: Jeffrey R. Walls” in the December 2011 print issue of EHS Today to learn more.

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