For some, summer elicits visions of vacationing on the beach in the sun with an ice-cold PepsiCo product. Taylor Seyfried, a student in the Environmental, Safety and Occupational Health Management (ESOH) Program at the University of Findlay spent her summer with PepsiCo in a much different way—as a health, safety and environmental specialist intern at its manufacturing and warehouse plant in Phoenix, Arizona. Her main projects during the internship included injury analysis, plant-wide ergonomic assessments, establishing and implementing an ergonomics team, emphasis on warehouse ergonomics, job hazard analyses (JHAs), emergency stop compliance and updating the storm water management plan (SMP).
The last project listed was her favorite. “I learned about the Multi-Sector General Permit in Professor Wilkinson’s ESOH 400 course at the University of Findlay, but getting to see a SMP in person and being able to navigate Arizona’s environmental regulations and laws in order to ensure compliance was a rewarding process. I would like to take the time to thank all of my professors for preparing me for real world experiences like this,” said Seyfried. Minoring in Spanish at UF, she had the opportunity to utilize that knowledge on this project as well. “I could not have been in a better location. Most of our employees are bilingual and I had a chance to talk to many of them and establish relationships,” she said.
Another highlight of her internship was a visit to the Pepsi Bottling Company in Las Vegas with the manager of Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) for the Phoenix and Las Vegas plants. She was able to see the logistics of another bottling plant while noting the differences in facility layouts, which is something that health and safety specialists have to take into account when making warehouse ergonomic assessments.
This was Seyfried’s second internship since starting in the ESOH program at UF. “University of Findlay does a great job at inviting major companies—like PepsiCo—to network, recruit for internships and ultimately hire students. Throughout the year, Dr. Murphy, the ESOH program chair, sends out numerous emails with internship and job opportunities,” said Seyfried. In fact, she found out about the PepsiCo internship through Tim Murphy, Ph.D.
She’s still narrowing down which industry she would like to work for upon graduation, but says that the internship opportunities that UF offers ESOH students is a great way to gain knowledge from industry experts that will inevitably help her make her choice. “Ultimately, these internships will be the foundation of my career in environmental, safety and health. I am grateful for this opportunity to work for such a prestigious company and I hope to potentially pursue a career with PepsiCo in the future.”
But how did Seyfried find the University of Findlay and how was she drawn to the ESOH Program? It was her senior year of high school, and she was actually already committed to enrolling at Purdue University in Indiana for engineering. Her parents are alumni of Purdue University, so it seemed fitting for her at the time. “In the fall of my senior year my mom found the University of Findlay and scheduled a visit. Once I stepped on campus and met Dr. Murphy I knew UF would become my home for the next four years. I am so thankful to be a part of such a wonderful campus and, more importantly, the only program in the nation to hold accreditations with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC),” said Seyfried.
In addition to her academic programs in ESOH and Spanish, Seyfried is also captain of the women’s swimming and diving team and president of UF’s student section of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). She encourages students to do their research to find the best fit when it comes to choosing a college. “For me, Findlay was perfect because I can go talk to a professor whenever I need help or advice. Consider what learning environments best fit your needs and do your research before making a final decision.”