Environmental Inspector in the Division of Air Quality for the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection in Paducah, Ky.
Graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College
How did you become interested in science?
From a young age I was always fascinated with nature and understanding how things worked. As I progressed in school it became apparent my strength was in the sciences. So with my love of nature and science abilities I leaned toward an education in biology. When I first went to school I was pre-physical therapy mainly because it paired my interest in athletics and science. As I progressed I took more classes with outdoor labs and my interest shifted from human biology to ecological and animal sciences. I then switched my major to one in zoology, which I graduated with in 2010 from Kentucky Wesleyan College.
My goal is to help maintain the beauty that is in nature today by helping reduce pollution. That way, future generations may be able to enjoy nature as I have.
Tell us about your job and what it is you do for Division of Air Quality for the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.
My position consists of doing compliance inspections at various sources or facilities. These inspections are typically two prong. First: a visual inspection of the actual facility and emission points and related pollution control devices. Secondly, there’s a review of the required record keeping for each source. These records consist of a variety of things, from hours of operation, process materials, chemical composition of materials, specific measurements from control devices, and quantities of emissions. We are then responsible for writing up reports and sighting any violations found at the facility. If a violation is serious it can result in a fine.
Why is it important for America’s future to get more students interested in science?
I believe that math and science are critical in education of young people today. Many positions require a background in science or math. The people I deal with are mostly engineers, either chemical or environmental. Many positions are being generated in relation to environmental protection on both the regulatory side – monitoring and controlling pollution – as well as in the private side, working for companies that must comply with environmental regulations. Positions are also being created that focus on the development of more environmentally friendly fuels and methods to reduce pollution. With the constant push away from fossil fuels, it is important for today’s students to be educated in science and math in order for America to stay on the cutting edge of technology.
What is your ultimate goal as an environmental inspector?
My goal is to help maintain the beauty that is in nature today by helping reduce pollution, including hazardous air pollution that is a health risk to humans and natural fauna. That way, future generations may be able to enjoy nature as I have.
What would help get students more interested in science at a younger age?
I think an emphasis on labs and hands-on application of scientific principles will help students learn and maintain their interest in the sciences. An exposure to how science is present in everyday life from the breakfast they eat to the clothing they wear is due to some form of science. An example: the genetically modified corn used to make the cereal they eat and the engineering used to make the machines that harvested that corn and the agricultural practices that allow farmers to reach higher crop yields without destroying the environment. This is just the tip of the iceberg as how science is involved in the everyday life of students. I think that an exposure to these types of instances could peak an interest in science at a young age.