With a successful dissertation defense in his rear-view mirror, Xinjian (Kevin) He can finally afford to take some time off to relax. But based on his track record in the Department of Environmental Health, thatís not likely to happen. Over the past two years, Heís dissertation research on respiratory protection devices resulted in seven peer-reviewed papers published, accepted or submitted in major national and international scientific journals. "Based on my 30-year university career and experience of mentoring over 40 graduate students and 25 postdoctoral fellows, I find that Kevinís record exceeds a typical one for a graduate student or even a postdoc by far,Ē says his advisor, Sergey Grinshpun, PhD.
Just back from the 2013 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition in Montreal, Heóalso a new fatherótook the time to answer questions about his background, work ethic and love of basketball.
Tell us about your background.
I am from China and was born and raised in Henan province. After earning my bachelorís degree in safety engineering at China University of Mining and Technology in Xuzhou, I came to the United States for my masterís degree at West Virginia University and began my studies at UC in September 2010.
What prompted you to leave China and continue your studies in the United States?
I had always wanted to come to the United States for graduate study after completing my undergraduate degree in China. In my opinion, the United States has the best higher education system in the world.
How did you become interested in your field of industrial hygiene?
A lot of people may have never heard of industrial hygiene, but it is a very interesting field. Industrial hygienists anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control health hazards (e.g., harmful airborne particulates, noise, radiation, toxic gases and vapors, etc.) in the working environment. Our goal is to protect workerís health and safety.
What do you credit your success to?
I believe that right attitude and hard work are the key steps to success. You must first love what you do. I also received considerable help from faculty and staff members in the Center for Health-Related Aerosol Studies at the Department of Environmental Health. The center is internationally recognized for its accomplishments in aerosol science and technology, exposure assessment, air purification and respiratory protection studies, as well as biodefense research. Visiting scholars, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students from over 15 countries worldwide have been trained here. I especially want to thank my advisor, Dr. Grinshpun. Without his generous help and encouragement, it would not have been possible to complete my PhD study in less than three years.
What are your plans for the future?
I have been offered a position at the National Institute for Occupational and Safety Health (NIOSH) in Pittsburgh. I will be working on projects concerning with human respiratory protection. I also plan on becoming Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) in a few years. My ultimate goal is to make my own contribution to improving workplace health and safety for workers in my motherland of China.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love basketball and used to play a lot in high school and college. Believe it or not, I named myself Kevin after NBA star Kevin Garnett. I also watch a lot of YouTube. I learned to fix my car by watching it.