Zimmerman Examining Workplace Safety in Co-op Research Program
Five master’s and doctoral students are working on research projects with leading local organizations via the Ohio Means Internships & Co-ops Program. Dominic Zimmerman, BS ’14, is one of those students, working with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company to support the company’s global Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team through analysis of workplace incidents.Zimmerman has been reviewing large international and domestic data sets on workplace injury. “We’re looking for trends in geography, occurrence, type and cause to help focus effective injury-prevention efforts,” he explains. “I love sifting through data and looking for trends and working directly with seasoned EHS professionals,” says the epidemiology master’s student. “It’s like figuring out a riddle.” Another recent project involved ensuring accuracy of material safety data sheets for multiple Goodyear locations.
Zimmerman is working with Goodyear’s Senior Manager of Global EHS, Jeff Malek, and Global Safety & Health Project Manager, Huw Marsden. Faculty advisor is Associate Professor Tara Smith, Dept. of Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences & Epidemiology.
Zimmerman’s work for Goodyear has taken him to U.S. manufacturing plants this summer to assist with health and safety projects related to day-to-day operations. He would like to continue in private workplace safety upon graduation or pursue work in statistical analysis for a major healthcare system.
Zimmerman and the four other Kent State co-op researchers are employed by the university, with student support funded equally by the program and the local partner organization. The students work 20 hours weekly at the partner’s facilities, while continuing their academic programs. Each co-op arrangement is expected to be at least one year in duration.
Other local organizations presently involved in the co-op program are Akron General Health System, GOJO Industries and Summa Health System. Organizations interested in utilizing a co-op student may contact the college’s Director of Advancement, Margot McGimpsey, at (330) 672-6270.
Funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Board of Regents, the state is investing $11 million over two years in co-ops and internships, with matching dollars directed to key industry sectors and functions, including biohealth and research and development. Some 25 education partners, including Kent State, are creating new or expanded programs to help build skills in demand by Ohio businesses and to better position students for jobs in Ohio after graduation, according to the Board of Regents.
The grants are part of a workforce development strategy to align Ohio’s higher education curriculum with skills in demand from Ohio’s businesses. The grants will provide Ohio employers with opportunities to benefit from the talents of Ohio’s graduate students, while putting students on track for successful careers in Ohio. Funding provided through the Ohio Means Internships & Co-op Program comes from Ohio-based casino license fees.