Creating safer workplaces through ergonomics

| Hyoung Gon "Frank" Ryou
A man wearing glasses and a purple checked shirt poses in a hallway.

DEOHS alumnus Hyoung Gon "Frank" Ryou said the opportunities he had to learn from top occupational health and safety experts helped open doors that led to his job as a Boeing ergonomics engineer. Photo: Elizar Mercado.   

This DEOHS alum and Boeing engineer translates his expertise in occupational ergonomics into practical solutions that prevent worker injuries

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On April 7, 2022, join us for Husky Giving Day to raise funds that support UW students and programs. Your donation supports students like Frank through the DEOHS Environmental Health Student Support Fund, which helps graduate students pay for research-related expenses, including travel and conference presentations to share their research. 

Editor’s note: Hyoung Gon “Frank” Ryou graduated in 2020 with his PhD in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene from the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS).

I work as an ergonomics engineer at the Boeing Company on the Environmental Health & Safety Engineering team. My role is to improve workplace safety and efficiency for manufacturing operators through engineering strategies, including the use of exoskeleton technologies.

The occupational safety and industrial hygiene courses I took at DEOHS prepared me to start my career as a safety specialist managing overall factory safety with 900+ workers, a job I held before my current role.

I worked alongside faculty members who have great passion for their research and show great care for each student. Relationships with and support from companies and organizations, including Boeing, Amazon, the state Department of Labor & Industries, as well as DEOHS alumni in these organizations, helped me conduct my research on whole-body vibration exposures and build a network with experts in this field. In fact, my current manager is also UW DEOHS alumnus.

Why student support matters

Scholarships and training grants play important roles in opening up learning and research opportunities for young professionals. I appreciate UW DEOHS for the training grants that supported my education and contributed to becoming who I am now.

Attending conferences was a great opportunity to present my research—a reward for a milestone accomplishment, but most of all, a gateway to become an expert in the field and expand my network by meeting other national and international scholars and leaders.

Discovering a passion for ergonomics

Educational programs and research opportunities with faculty members brought me to DEOHS, where I discovered my passion to learn more about occupational ergonomics under the supervision of former DEOHS Professor Pete Johnson, an expert in the field.

I enjoyed working with colleagues coming from diverse fields within environmental and occupational health. It gave me a broader perspective on occupational health to apply into my research.

What’s next

I plan to become a technical fellow within the Boeing group, where I can support colleagues and provide knowledge and skills in occupational ergonomics.

I also want to give back in acknowledgment of the opportunities I had while at the UW and DEOHS by providing mentorship and support to help students build their careers and expand their skills.


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