Rachel McAnallen


Riverwoods, Illinois

Degree programs

B.S. Environmental Technology,M.S. Environmental Health and Safety Management

Year of graduation


Place of employment

United State Air Force, Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colorado

Job Title

Environmental Program Manager

Work Responsibilities

My job series is described as a “Physical Scientist (Environmental).” I am a civilian Air Force employee in year two of a two-year management training program for recent engineering graduates. This program requires its managers to do a number of rotations so that participants can learn the different jobs of each element or section within the squadrons on the Air Force base. For example, I am expected to perform and/or observe engineering, project programming, project management, contracting, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, power production, structural and paving duties and learn from those experiences. Once I graduate from this program, my job responsibilities will include program management, project support and in some cases, project management. It’s possible I may be assigned to manage the installation’s air quality, underground storage tanks, toxics or hazardous materials requirements. Environmental program management consists of recordkeeping, tracking metrics and progress toward nationwide federal goals, training personnel and acting as a liaison between the U.S. Air Force and environmental regulators.

How my career relates to my degree from RIT/NTID

My career requires the technical environmental expertise that RIT/NTID provides to its students. As a program manager, I will be responsible for providing quality assurance on behalf of the government. This means that I will use the environmental monitoring and measurement skills and the understanding of physics, chemistry, human biology and ecology that I gained at RIT/NTID. All this is required to understand the work products I will be expected to review, the services I will be expected to order, and requirements I am expected to develop. In addition to being able to complete my dual degree in Environment Technology and Environmental Health and Safety Management, I saw a huge advantage in the cooperative education programs at RIT. My program required four co-ops, so in addition to my coursework and lab work, I have four experiences with paid internships. Once I graduated, I was getting offers for jobs that required three or more years of experience right out of college.


Network. Network. Network. In college I was a student member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the Air and Waste Management Association. While at RIT, I was able to join such organizations and build rapport with future employers in interviews and learn the latest and greatest from professionals in my field. Take advantage of internships whenever you can. I’m 24 years old, and I have worked for Fortune 500 companies, in factories, at the corporate level, at the field level as a technician and more. My internships gave me a broad and diverse background, which, in turn, has given me a large network of professionals in my field I can go to for advice or assistance for myself or for others.

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