Inside of Everett Boeing factory.Photo:
Jetstar Airways (jetstar.com)
Our department has a long history with Boeing. Undergraduates have interned at the company, and a number of our alumni are among the 83 Boeing employees who graduated from the University of Washington. Now, Boeing has established a formal partnership with our department under a Boeing Focal with a gift of $20,000.
“This focal will strengthen the relationship between Boeing and our department,” said Michael Yost, professor and chair. “The focal will also strengthen the relationship between our alumni who work at Boeing and our students.”
Through this program, our department will work with Boeing to identify opportunities that are mutually beneficial.
For example, Yost sees Boeing as a strong partner in identifying critical skills students need. Yost wants to actively engage Boeing in enhancing the department’s curriculum. These changes can increase our students’ competitive advantage for jobs at the company that has major production facilities in Renton and Everett, said Yost.
Internships also help with job readiness, and that is why Boeing is eager to improve the network between available student interns and internship opportunities at the company, explained Susan Colligan, who works at Boeing as an EHS manager and oversees a Technical Team of health and safety specialists, including hygienists, and ergonimics and safety professionals. She graduated from the department in 1986 with a master’s degree in Industrial Hygiene and Safety and has worked for Boeing nearly 10 years.
Our department values this experience as part of student training, applying the skills learned in department courses in a real-world setting. Internships are required to graduate from the bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health. Now, two 15-month accelerated master’s degrees, one in Occupational & Environmental Exposure Sciences and another in Applied Toxicology, also require internships.
“A key component of our accelerated degree programs is to have them work them in the private sector to gain the practical experience they need,” said Yost.
He explains that a strong internship program also needs a strong feedback loop. The Boeing Focal will create a feedback system so that the department and Boeing can actively engage in evaluating the training and skills that cohorts of interning students demonstrate.
Colligan said Boeing also wants to improve student access to its network of industry professionals. The department, said Yost, is interested in developing a course for students that teaches them critical leadership skills and that brings in industry professionals, such as from Boeing, to speak to students about how these skills play out in their career.
In February next year, a formal presentation of the $20,000 check to Chair Michael Yost will be made at Boeing. Alumni from the department who now work at Boeing will be invited to attend. “Their high-caliber contributions made this gift to DEOHS happen,” said Colligan.
Boeing will also help sponsor the department’s Alumni, Friends, and Family Reception on June 5, 2017, at the Pan Pacific Hotel. The reception will take place during the American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition in Seattle.