#IAmIH: "I'm Really Excited for the Future"
AIHA member Alyson Gray was looking for a way to use her undergraduate degree in public health to get out into the field and really use what she had learned. Her research led her to something new—at least it was new to her—and she enrolled in the industrial hygiene master’s program at the University of Iowa.
That was a year ago. Around the same time, Gray joined AIHA, was awarded a scholarship by the organization, and signed up to be part of the AIHA mentoring program. Now, at 24, she’s starting her thesis and there’s no looking back. “I’m really excited for the future,” she beams.
Gray remembers exploring one of the first benefits of membership: the IH Professional Pathway section of AIHA.org, where she discovered the Career Levels of an industrial hygiene professional. She considers it a roadmap for her future. “I’m a person who really likes a plan, especially when it’s something in my career,” Gray says. “Knowing that AIHA understands that [students] want an idea of what their career would look like is really nice.”
“They understand that your career sort of starts as a student,” she explains of the AIHA mentoring program. “It’s something that I think is really beneficial from the get-go. You shouldn’t have to rely on simply connecting by yourself, and I think AIHA understands that.
“There’s definitely a lot out there for students.” Gray attended her first AIHce conference in Seattle, an experience that led her to encourage other IH students to join. “Just the networking I was able to do—it’s a great way to connect with people when you’re first starting or planning to start your career. I think it’s been valuable to have a society that is the bridge between those two parts of your life.”
As fall semester begins, Gray knows she’s not alone in her new field. “It definitely feels like a tight-knit community. I can always go back to AIHA. I can always connect with people. There’s a support group that will make sure I can have the success that I need,” she says. “Yeah, I’m just really thankful.”
For more information about AIHA membership, visit the AIHA website.