Two students in the industrial hygiene graduate program in West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources were awarded scholarships from the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Alexis Claassen, from New Kensington, Pennsylvania, was awarded the Liberty Mutual Scholarship and Arthur Thurdekoos, from Denville, New Jersey, received the Pittsburgh Local Section Scholarship. They were among the 40 students selected by AIHF and will be recognized at the 2014 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, on June 3.

“This scholarship gives me confidence to continue to work in the field that I enjoy,” said Claassen, who is earning her master’s degrees in industrial hygiene and safety management. “It makes me incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this ever-growing field.”

Claassen plans to capitalize on the opportunity to attend the conference by using it as a networking experience and attend training events. She is pursuing a career in health and safety because she wants to know that her future employees are sent home safely every day.

“WVU has given me the technical knowledge that I need to succeed in the field and allowed me to get further opportunities,” said Claassen. “WVU has taught me how to interact with people, accept diversity and overcome obstacles.”

Because of an illness in his family, Thurdekoos has had to maintain full-time employment for the majority of his education to support himself. Thanks to this scholarship, his financial burden will be relieved.

“I have always been concerned with how I will pay for my future tuition,” he said. “I am glad to say that my worries for next year will be put aside.”

Thurdekoos plans to pursue his doctorate in industrial hygiene after a career in the industry. He is inspired by his professors who are able to share their professional experiences.

“The experience the instructors have in their varied careers as well as their academic research allows us the ability to gain practical knowledge that industrial employers find most useful,” Thurdekoos explained.

Since 1982, AIHF has distributed more than $1.6 million to 549 students studying industrial hygiene and related disciplines at 53 different schools and universities. This year, almost $150,000 was awarded to industrial hygiene students across the United States. Scholarships are funded by corporations, individual and AIHF members.



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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