USF College of Public Health alumna Adrianna Woltman started her time as a MSPH student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) under difficult circumstances.
She lost both her father and best friend unexpectedly, but she said she never lost sight of graduating thanks to the mentorship of her EOH professor Dr. Steven Mlynarek and the camaraderie of her classmates.
“I loved it, it was nice to be in such a small program where I was able to work with my peers and have very experienced professors, it was like having a little family and we were all really close and I really enjoyed it,” she said.
Growing up in a military town in North Carolina, Woltman earned her bachelor of science degree in Occupational Safety Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
She said she was drawn to earn her MSPH degree from the COPH after realizing her love for industrial hygiene.
“I saw how big of impact it [industrial hygiene] could make in ways you couldn’t really expect,” she said. “As I was looking at other programs, I saw that the USF program was a little bit more well-rounded, we have a lot of opportunities to learn about everything.”
She graduated in summer 2015 and dove head first into her public health career as an industrial hygienist with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM.
Sandia is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, something Woltman said she appreciates about working there.
“It’s nice to see that safety is put on a pedestal and it is ingrained in everyone that works here to do things safely,” she said.
Sandia focuses on ensuring the safety of national security programs including nuclear weapons, defense systems and assessments, energy and climate, and global security.
Woltman currently is the head of the hearing conservation program, co-leading the chemical safety program and also supporting two centers within the weapons divisions.
She was also part of the Sandia task force team sent to Sierra Leone to analyze Ebola treatment units in order to reduce patient waiting times for blood to reach the labs for testing, as well as overall streamlining of control of outbreaks.
In March 2016, Woltman worked as a lab coordinator, taking samples, defining them into a database and reporting those numbers to various agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization.
Her work, along with her colleagues, was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy, something Woltman describes as the highlight of her professional career thus far.
She and her team received The Secretary’s Appreciation Award for answering to the President’s call for an ‘all hands on deck’ response to the Ebola virus global health emergency.
“When I was asked to go to Sierra Leone, I didn’t think it would lead up to being recognized by a cabinet leader,” she said. ““I was a little apprehensive, I had never really traveled overseas before, but Sierra Leone was so friendly, it was a great experience.”
Woltman said she plans to take her new career day by day, but plans to expand her arsenal of knowledge to include becoming a certified industrial hygienist.
“Right now, I’m focused on being the best industrial hygienist I can be,” she said. “I never thought I would end up in this type of career, and I know a lot of people can say that, but it has treated me very well.”
COPH Alumni Fast Five:
What did you dream of becoming when you were young?
I wanted to be a lawyer because I argued a lot!
Where would we find you on the weekend?
We’re in the process of selling our home, so getting our home ready to sell.
What is the last book you read?
Probably a DOE manual.
What superpower would you like to have?
To be in ten places at once!
What’s your all-time favorite movie?
“Drop Dead Gorgeous.”
Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health
Tags: Adrianna Woltman, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, ebola, industrial hygiene, New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratories, Sierra Leone, U.S. Department of Energy, workplace safety