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Otterbein Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator Tara Grove named STEM Exemplar

Otterbein Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator Tara Grove named STEM Exemplar


Otterbein Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator Tara Grove was recently named a Believe in Ohio STEM Exemplar by the Ohio Academy of Science. The award recognizes professionals from around the state who serve as a role model for students in the fields of science, technology engineering and mathematics. Exemplars attended high school in Ohio and are now employed in a STEM field in the state.

“I believe that in today's day in age, where everything is becoming more complex, it is very important for students to study in the fields of Science, Math, Technology and Engineering in order to have the best skills not only in gathering data and information, but being able to use their educational skills in solving complex problems. These fields of study focus on this type of skill set,” said Grove.

To be a STEM exemplar, you have to be an Ohioan that is involved in a career where you have the opportunity to encourage and influence younger individuals to pursue STEM careers. Profiles of the Ohio STEM exemplars are shared with students and educators throughout Ohio, therefore serving as a role model for younger generations.

“My role as the Environmental Health and Safety Officer is heavily STEM related. I serve the university as a steward in environmental, health and safety related issues. I provide guidance to comply with ever changing regulations, develop unique ways to address safety issues and complete data analysis in areas such as air monitoring and regulatory reporting,” said Grove.

In this role, Grove works directly with the students. Many students engage in safety training, which Grove provides. She also provides safety events which are arranged throughout the year on campus. She serves as a guest speaker or adjunct faculty in the Sciences and have both assisted and arranged Science Outreach Programs, in which science activities are provided to K-5 students to spark the interest of young children.

“Every day is a different day, I never know what I am going to encounter, or what problem someone will ask me to assist them with. Environmental Health and Safety covers large area of hazards on campus, including chemical, biological, radiological, life and fire safety, hazardous materials management and emergency response operations,” said Grove. “The greatest challenge is to keep up with the regulations and specialized training required to address all of these areas. It is a job of constant learning.”

Grove said the most rewarding aspect of her job is knowing that with all of the hard work and long hours that she puts in, at the end of the day, she is serving Otterbein to provide the safest work environment possible to the employees, students and visitors.

“I was told that opportunities will present themselves to you, don't be afraid to go after them.  This advice has been very true for me, throughout the growth of my career,” said Grove.