Doctor of science student, Department of Environmental Health
Although many factories have now relocated to other countries, “Taiwan was heavily industrialized in the 1960s,” explains Chen-yu Liu. “There is now rising concern over the effects on health.” Chen-yu’s interest in public health began while she was at National Taiwan University. A public health major, she did fieldwork every year, including leading a team sent to help earthquake victims in central Taiwan. The environment—initially air pollution, then occupational health—has always been her focus. After college, she says, “I decided to apply to HSPH for a master’s program because some of my teachers at National Taiwan University had trained at Harvard. They said it was a great environment for learning.” Now a doctoral student, Chen-yu is involved in a project back in Taiwan, directed by Professor David Christiani. Based in the Kaohsiung area, which has four large petrochemical plants, the project is assessing whether there are links between leukemia and high exposure rates to chemical compounds. Chen-yu herself is exploring the role of maternal genetic polymorphisms in the development of cancer in offspring. Eventually she plans to return to her country, where she hopes to combine research with educating the public about environmental concerns.
Ian Callander’s career in the Coast Guard began as a fluke. While atBoston Latin High School, Ian wandered into a room with a Coast GuardAcademy recruiter. No one in his family had a military or nautical background,but Ian, intrigued by what he heard, was accepted to the U.S.Coast Guard Academy in New London and graduated with a bachelor ofscience in management in 2001. “Training at the academy was reallyaimed at developing leadership,” Ian says. In the seven years since graduation,Ian has held a variety of demanding jobs for the Coast Guard: engineeringofficer, marine inspector, and assistant chief of the WaterwaysSafety Branch. Most recently he served as the branch chief of the SectorSan Francisco Boarding Team (commonly known as the sea marshals),charged with using Homeland Security guidelines to target high-risk vesselsand conduct security enforcement boardings. “So many new missionswere thrown at us following September 11,” he says. “I witnessed the limitationsof existing safety guidelines.” Ian describes the hazards of boardingan unfamiliar ship or conducting a boarding of large commercial shipsfrom small boats or by helicopter. Ian hopes to improve the conditions forhis fellow Coast Guard personnel when he returns as a health and safetyofficer. He says, “There are only about twenty health and safety officersamong forty thousand active-duty Coasties.”
Chiung-yu (Cali) Chang
Master’s student, Department of Environmental Health
Coming from a medical family, Chiung-yu (Cali) Chang comments, “I see occupational safety and health as another form of medicine. People often develop some kind of disability or disease related to their work.” Cali majored in public health at Taipei Medical University, where she became interested in her current field. Until legislation to protect labor was passed, she explains, Taiwan was plagued by severely unsafe working conditions; even now, the country lacks sufficient data to monitor occupational diseases. After graduating from her university, Cali worked in a laboratory at the Taiwanese Institute of Occupational Safety and Health on a project assessing the effects of cooking-oil fumes on restaurant workers. Encouraged by her supervisor, who had studied at HSPH, she applied to the master’s program in occupational health in the Department of Environmental Health. Cali is still early on in her program, but she has been struck by the differences between the Taiwanese and American educational approach: “The emphasis here is on your core knowledge rather than your grades.” She describes the students as “competitive in a good way. They are very helpful and make me work harder.” Cali will spend the summer in the lab of her adviser, Professor David Christiani. She plans to apply to the HSPH doctoral program in environmental health.