GV gains 12 Future Safety Leaders

By Jake Moerdyke | 11/17/10 8:22pm

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Courtesy Photo / Stephanie Zizzo
GVSU ASSE Student Chapter Booth at the 2010 Michigan Safety Conference in Lansing, MI


Twelve Grand Valley State University students were chosen to be a part of 130 students nationwide who attended the Future Safety Leaders of America conference held by the American Society of Safety Engineers in Schaumburg, Ill., on Nov. 4 and 5.

Students were chosen based on overall grade point average, class standing and a 500 word essay submitted to the ASSE. Each of the students is a member of GVSU’s student chapter of the ASSE and is earning a degree in occupational and safety health management.

“We were chosen as future safety leaders,” said Justin Slusarzyk, a member of the ASSE student chapter that went to the conference.

The occupational safety and health management major is a broad field that covers almost all forms of business. From designing floor plans for escape routes during fires to selling insurance to a business, the boundaries of this field are extremely far-reaching.

The conference had 15 sponsors, each from a different field within the occupational safety and health management field. Slusarzyk said they got to choose six of those sponsors as representatives and have a 20-minute discussion with each speaker about their particular field.

The conference the students attended was designed to help those who are about to graduate make a smooth transition into their field. The students who went to the conference said the networking aspect of the conference was really stressed as the main goal. John Bielak, vice president of the ASSE GVSU chapter, said it was a very good networking opportunity. He added the conferences they go to are often more about networking opportunities than about the keynote speakers.

“It’s a wonderful thing about the safety community,” Bielak said. “Everybody is looking out for everyone else.”

Stephanie Zizzo, President of the ASSE GVSU chapter, said the thing which struck her the most about the conference was how willing all of the different businesses that attended were to help the students at the conference.

“(The companies in attendance) wanted us to contact them after we left,” Zizzo said. “It was a comforting experience that made me excited to graduate.”

Students were also given the chance to sit down with professionals from the occupational health and safety management field and go through mock interviews and resum?© critiques. Bielak said the attendees were required to send a resum?© in advance of the conference so it could be reviewed for the mock interviews.

Zizzo described the conference as a real-world experience that does not throw the students into a real-life situation but puts them in a place where they can actually learn from people who have been in the field.

“You get to talk to all these people, you get to choose what tables you sit down, face-to-face with these people and they give you their experience,” Zizzo said.

Zizzo has attended the conference twice now and said she believes the experience is a good way to get students in the occupational safety management major excited about graduation. She feels as though this is an important opportunity to show these students what they could do with their degrees after graduation.

Among the students who were chosen to attend the conference were Zizzo, Bielak, Jessica Perez, Thomas Schlubatis, Slusarzyk, Jennifer Prullage, Shaizad Mohammed, Donna Pisacreta, Craig Willea, Jovaun Royal, Maureen Ruggeberg and Michael Bricault.

The attendees of the conference agreed the experience was a culminating one that presented them with a glimpse of all they could do within their field.

“We were able to see the end idea the results of our schooling,” Bielak said.

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