USF College of Public Health MPH student Andrea Johnston began her career in marketing but soon learned that she had a passion for public health.
Born and raised in Chino, California, Johnston earned her BA in business marketing from San Francisco State University in 2010.
After graduating college, Johnston moved back to the Los Angeles area and started working at NBCUniversal utilizing her business writing skills for the vice president of environmental, health and safety (EHS).
After nine months of working for the VP she was offered the opportunity to work in New York City for the facilities based EHS team and accepted the role after she realized she enjoyed working in an EHS capacity and for the company.
Five years later Johnston is now an EHS specialist with the NBCUniversal Owned Station group for the two Los Angeles based television stations. She oversees EHS for all aspects of both stations including but not limited to the main facility, the field shop where the station vehicles are housed and two transmitter locations.
Her day to day work includes but is not limited to injury and illness prevention and investigations, training, procedure writing, ensuring environmental regulations are maintained, ensuring their Department of Transportation drivers are kept qualified and have submitted required qualification documentation, conducting inspections and ergonomics.
“I say this all the time – that no day is ever the same. I am not one for sitting at a desk and doing the same thing day after day. I love how my job is a mix of interacting with people, sitting at my desk writing/emailing and being out in the field,” Johnston said.
There are over 50 topics in which there is an EHS program required to be created and maintained for their operations; Johnston manages all of them.
Johnston became a certified ergonomics evaluator in 2014, took the OSHA 30-hour industry course in 2015 and is expecting to graduate from the COPH with a MPH in health, safety and environment from the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in May 2017.
Johnston is an online student and said that she was proud of her accomplishment of being able to manage working full-time in addition to being a part-time master’s student.
During her time in the field and in the COPH, Johnston said that there are many things that still surprise her with environmental and health safety.
“What is always surprising and changes in every work environment is how people accept and adopt safety,” Johnston said. “There are those who have done something for so long that changing an attitude or practice is hard to do. On the other hand, those who are new who you would think can adopt the right practices can find it sometimes hard to do as they feel or believe another way is better.”
Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health