Jaclyn Graves has joined McDaniel College as the director of risk management/environmental health and safety.
This is a new position at McDaniel in which Graves, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, will oversee compliance of all federal, state and local environmental and safety regulations, according to a news release from the college. It is a highly visible position, reporting to the president, and works collaboratively with all divisions and departments at the college.
The Times caught up with Graves to discuss her new role.
Q: You have more than five years of experience. How and why did you get started in this field?
A: I actually fell into this career. As a student at George Washington University, I switched my undergraduate major to general engineering and decided to continue my studies there to pursue a master's degree. It also happened to be just after Hurricane Katrina and the field of emergency management was on display. I became interested in the field and started to look for an internship. I was able to secure a position at the GW Medical Center Office of Safety, BioSecurity and Emergency Management. There, I learned about emergency preparedness and response, as well as chemical safety, biosafety and hazardous waste procedures. After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I stayed on as a full-time employee while completing my master's degree in engineering management with a focus in crisis, emergency, and risk management.
A: This position at McDaniel has been a goal of mine. I have been interested in starting my own Environmental Health and Safety department since I began in this field. When I saw the job listing, I knew this would be my chance to help make a positive change at a college.
Q: How did your past experiences prepare you for this role?
A: I have worked at and with a number of different colleges and universities. My work as a consultant has specifically provided me with a unique perspective of institutions because I have had the opportunity to work with many different schools of all sizes and types. I believe this has set me up for success in my current role.
Q: Is there anything about the job or the field that you think people don't appreciate, or don't know about, though maybe they should?
A: Those in my profession are not always well liked because it is my job to find and sometimes point out mistakes. Although it can be a challenge to tell someone that they need to change the way that they have always done something, I hope that by working closely with them to come up with alternatives that they will understand the importance. I also hope that they will incorporate these recommendations into their daily lives — not just on campus, but also in their own homes.
Q: Once you settle in this new position, are there any projects you would like to undertake, or are there any ongoing projects or challenges you look forward to working on?
A: I am currently conducting an audit of the campus. I am excited to assist in improving the safety of the McDaniel community.