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Meet Our Alumni: Nela Graham, industrial hygienist

May 26, 2017 |

“The degree opens doors.”

Nela Graham never comes to work bored.
As an industrial hygienist for Metro Vancouver, and President of the BC-Yukon Chapter of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), Nela was drawn to prevention in the workplace as a way to take healthy people and preserve their health and well-being in a place where they spend a large portion of their lives.

Nela began working at Metro Vancouver in a two month position – fourteen years ago. She says she is the first and only hygienist at the organization and she is constantly challenged, stimulated and interested by her work. Nothing is the same day to day, so the MSc OEH’s critical thinking component has been invaluable in helping with how to approach new issues and events, from inception to application.

Nela, who graduated in 2002, joined the AIHA about 10 years ago and has served in various executive roles, including her current role as president, where she works to promote and advance the industrial hygiene profession. The nature of the profession is changing, she says, and employers expect hygienists to be masters of all trades. Graduates need to have transferability, and this is where the program comes in handy.
Nela Graham

“There is no greater place you can have an impact in prevention than at someone’s workplace where you can control their exposures.”

Her memories of the program involve lots of all-nighters, taking turns with classmates at the old computers to type up work and deciding who would make the tea at two thirty in the morning. While these were tough times, juggling a job as she was, this period ended up being a badge of honor for Nela, and full of good memories.

Read more about the School of Population and Public Health’s MSc OEH program.