Monica Melkonian dedicated her life to the practice of occupational health. A graduate of Cal State University Northridge with a Masters and Bachelors Degree in Environmental and Occupational Health, her highest priority was having a direct impact on people in the workplace. Early in her career, she worked for the EPA in California as a Hazardous Substance Scientist and a Health Compliance Officer at Oregon OSHA. She loved the variety of industries she was able to work in and the direct interaction with employees. The ability to not only assess worker exposure but also educate employees on how to protect themselves was a great sense of pride and satisfaction for her.
In January of 2001, she worked as a lead industrial hygienist at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA. Over the next 4 years, she concentrated on occupational health challenges in flight research industries assessing a broad range of occupational hazards that included confined space entries, construction, and maintenance of unmanned aerial vehicles, and leak detection on the now-retired SR71 Blackbird. Her last field activities were contracted through a private firm where she worked at NBC Universal Studios assessing occupational health and safety hazards in the film, entertainment, and amusement park industries.
In May of 2004 Monica was certified through the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) and a year later her career progressed from fieldwork to the development of occupational health software. Her ability to work with the Industrial Hygiene Profession and translate the work into occupational health software platforms was unprecedented and resulted in one of the leading industrial hygiene software applications in the world. Monica also became a subject matter expert on the advancement of how “Big Data” could be used to enhance occupational exposure assessments. Her work carried her across the globe from the Northern Territories of Canada to Australia and the UK. Virtually she worked with clients in China, South America, and beyond.
Throughout her career, she was an advocate of advancing the practice of industrial hygiene and occupational health. She was an active member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. She was a Past Chair of the Computer Applications Committee, a member of the AIHA Big Data Task Force, and provided numerous presentations at AIHce roundtables on computer applications, Big Data, and data privacy. She also published articles on computer applications in AIHA’s Synergist magazine in December of 2010 and April of 2013.
Every moment Monica had away from work was spent in the high desert of Central Oregon. Along with her husband, they enjoyed skiing, snowboarding, paddleboarding, hiking, and long motorcycle road trips. She also volunteered her time on community neighborhood associations and for a time served on the leadership team for the Deschutes County Search and Rescue Foundation. Monica lived life to the fullest. She was the wife, mother, sister, and daughter that loved and cared for all. She will be forever missed by family, friends, and colleagues around the world.
Scholarship Eligibility Criteria
In awarding The Monica Melkonian Memorial Scholarship, applicants must meet the minimum AIHF general scholarship eligibility requirements.
The scholarship will be given to a women seeking an undergraduate or graduate degree in Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Health or Environmental Health. Preference is given to applicants also seeking to apply their skills in the emergency management, disaster resiliency or disaster recovery career fields.
2022 - 2023
Caylin Crawford, University of Minnesota
2021 - 2022
Lindsey Wooley, Montana Technological University