September 15, 2017 / Brigette Polmar

#IAmIH: Longtime Student Member Charts Course for Long-Term IH Career

At 23, Jay Clinger is already an industrial hygiene veteran. In his second year of graduate school, he’s had several IH internships, attended two AIHce conferences, and won several American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF​)scholarships. But Jay Clinger is just getting started.

“The long-term plan is to get a PhD and then go back and teach after I’ve been in the industry for 10 to 15 years or so,” said Clinger, who sees AIHA as a big part of his career plan. “AIHA is a great resource. Everyone is always willing to provide guidance. Being an active member of AIHA will really help students accelerate their career.”

Clinger points to a long list of membership benefits that he’s already using to chart his course, including the Industrial Hygiene Professional Pathway Program and CareerAdvantage. “You can get your resume critiqued and do mock interviews and meet with potential employers. That’s all really nice,” said Clinger of his time at the CareerAdvantage booth at AIHce EXP 2017 in Seattle. “I think it’s really comforting. It reduces some of that stress level of having to enter the work force, because you know that you have all these people, these resources you can reach out to.”

After grad school, he intends to hit the ground running and relies on The Synergist, AIHA’s monthly magazine that provides in-depth news and information about the occupational and environmental health and safety fields and the industrial hygiene profession, to keep him on the leading edge. “It’s really valuable staying up-to-date on what’s going on in the profession right now. All those articles are discussing a new hazard or a new standard that’s being published or a new science that’s come out that recommends a lower exposure limit or a new control technology,” said Clinger. “I think that’s all very important so we, as industrial hygienists, can really do our jobs the best that we can and provide the best resources for employers, as well as keeping all the employees safe.”

While most of Clinger’s internships have been in the petrochemical industry, he’s also eyeing opportunities to work as an IH in a regulatory role. “Within the refineries you’re limited to just their main set of hazards. But if you’re a contractor or [work for the] government, you’re going to refineries, to all of the manufacturers, to construction sites. You really get familiar and intimate with the entire code of regulations.”

He knows AIHA will be key in obtaining his continuing education credits—something Clinger welcomes as he looks forward to more AIHce conferences. “Attending conference as a student has really opened my eyes; all the networking opportunities, all the informational sessions where you can learn about any topic related to industrial hygiene that you could possibly imagine,” he said. “Just seeing that network has really made me excited about entering this career field.”

For more information about AIHA membership, visit the AIHA website​.

Brigette Polmar

Brigette Polmar is a professional brand journalist who covers the industrial hygiene profession, AIHA member news, AIHce EXP, and more. A former Washington correspondent and broadcast journalist, Polmar is the founder of Brand Spoken, which specializes in industry-specific coverage on paper, online, and on the air.


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