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NSC Honors 2022 Women in Safety Scholarship Winners

Recipients were honored at the NSC Safety Congress & Expo Sept. 19

The National Safety Council is proud to honor this year’s Women in Safety Scholarship winners. This $5,000 scholarship, renewable for up to four years, helps support women pursuing safety as a career and promotes safety as a career path for women studying business or engineering. Four scholars were selected.

Women in Safety Scholarship Winners

Royce L. Bird: Montana Technological University, Butte
Major: Occupational Safety and Health
Royce is a senior and expects to graduate in May 2023.

Royce has particular interest in the under-reporting of safety incidents that contribute to more severe health consequences and greater losses in productivity.

In her application, she shared why she chose to study safety: “While industrial safety has peaked my interest from a young age, my experiences in the workplace have inspired me to pursue a career in safety. Previously, I was the Veteran Services Coordinator/Campus Safety Officer for Kenai Peninsula College of the University of Alaska. During my four-year tenure, I was in in charge of risk and emergency management, incident reporting, safety audits and policy/procedure updates for the campus. While at KPC, I had the opportunity to implement and oversee safety management programs to ensure OSHA compliance, conduct safety inspections, file incident reports and submit my findings to the safety contractor. I also had a mentor at KPC that encouraged my pursuit of a profession in the field of safety.”

Olivia Metzger: Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Alabama
Major: B.S. Occupational Safety and Health/Construction Safety
Olivia is a senior and expects to graduate in 2024. 

Olivia plans to pursue a career in construction health and safety and believes safety culture and employee fatigue are two challenges facing the construction industry. She aspires to help create safety cultures that value, educate and respect workers.

Olivia shared why she chose to study safety: “My decision to go back to school was the response to what I half-jokingly refer to as ‘The Worst Employee Review of My Life.’ I had been splitting my time between being a site safety professional and a traffic control supervisor for several months when my annual employee review came up. I went into the meeting believing I would be offered a full-time safety position at the company and that all my hard work was going to pay off. However, I was told that the company was not going to make me full-time because they wanted that person to be "impressive" i.e., have a degree and a good reputation throughout the industry as a safety professional. This was heartbreaking to me and the next day I applied for the Associate of Science in Occupational Safety and Health program through Columbia Southern University and signed up for the OSHA 510 class at the University of Washington. I also updated my resume and started looking for a full-time safety job (which I got). I have never let it get out of my head that at one point I was 'not impressive enough,' and I work hard every day to advance myself as a safety professional.”

Callie Ruppen: University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
Major: Chemical Engineering; Minor, Chemistry, Polymer Engineering Certificate
Callie is a senior and expects to graduate in May 2023. 

Callie discovered her interest in safety during a team project and has been exploring it further as a safety engineering intern at Sherwin-Williams. She believes making the right choice for safety comes down to communication and employee involvement.

In her own words: “Specific safety hazards vary from workplace to workplace; what remains constant is relying on people to make the right choice. The goal is to eliminate, substitute or establish controls to isolate the hazard. However, if a hazard cannot be eliminated or isolated, the biggest issue when relying on people to make the right choice comes down to communication and employee involvement.”

Bridget Mya Womack: University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Major: Occupational Safety with Construction Emphasis; Minor, Spanish
Bridget anticipates graduating December 2023. 

Bridget learned the importance of flexible and clear communication as a member of a COVID Compliance Team in California last summer. Her fluency in Spanish was valuable in helping teams quickly adjust to changing state requirements.

Bridget shared why she chose to study safety: “Safety was not my first choice for a career path. My plan was to become a nurse, so before my senior year of high school, I took the certified nursing course. This course helped me to realize nursing was not a good career fit. I was not comfortable with many aspects of nursing, but I really enjoyed the compliance part of the course. This sent me searching for other career options which is when I discovered occupational safety. I found this choice interesting because of the wide range of career options. When my academic advisor found out I was fluent in Spanish and that I had a strong desire to utilize and grow my Spanish skills, they encouraged me to consider switching to a construction emphasis."

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