Major:Occupational Safety and Health
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
High school: Oakville High School
Blake Barton is a graduate student pursuing his master’s degree in occupational safety and health (OSH) at Murray State University from St. Louis, Missouri. Graduating this month, Barton has been an active member of his academic department and the greater Murray State community. Whether he was completing internship opportunities across the country, helping other OSH students find their calling, performing with the Murray State Concert Choir or participating in the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, Barton has maintained a busy schedule while working to secure success. This is his story.
Activities and Organizations
I have been involved with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), OSH Mentoring and Diversity Program, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Rho Sigma Kappa safety honor society, Murray State Concert Choir and Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity.
I have enjoyed most of these organizations for the diverse people I have been able to befriend and network with. They have also provided me experiences to branch out of my comfort zone and embrace success. I was able to have an enjoyable and exceptional college experience by being so involved in these organizations.
Who has influenced you the most in your life and why?
My parents have been the biggest influence on my life. They have loved me unconditionally and have supported me through my hardships and successes. They provided me the foundational support for my well-being, assisting in any way they could. They have applauded, motivated and inspired me. I wouldn’t be the successful young man that I am today without either of them. Mom, Dad, thank you for everything — I love you both and hope I’ve made you proud.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I have accepted a full-time position as an associate health and safety engineer for LyondellBasell, a chemical manufacturing company, where I will be working in the areas of safety and industrial hygiene.
What first sparked your interest in your chosen field?
My father is a safety professional, and I was able to shadow him throughout high school on different client visits. I enjoyed meeting new clients and seeing the different industries and operations, which peaked my interest in the field of safety and health. I always wanted to go into the medical field, serving the well-being of people, but my stomach didn’t agree with that decision (especially with being a surgeon). This was a great field to help and serve the health and well-being of others.
How do you define success?
As long as I make my parents proud, I have been successful. I believe success is possessing a personal “peace of mind” by living life how it makes you happy and being comfortable with your decisions and lifestyle. Always live your life truthfully and on your own terms. In doing so, you will find success.
Why did you select Murray State?
I chose to attend Murray State University for its exceptional occupational safety and health program. I also wanted to attend a school outside Missouri and Murray State offered the best setting; being only three hours away from home was both close and far enough for comfort. Once I finished my on-campus tour, I knew this was the university for me.
Who is one of your favorite professors and why?
It is difficult for me to pick just one because I have several “favorite professors.” I would have to say that one of my favorites is Dr. Randal Keller. I have learned so much in the four courses (both undergrad and graduate level) I have taken with him. I can honestly say I have been challenged the most and have learned the most in his courses. I thank him for his assistance, dedication and for helping make the OSH program what it is today.
What is one of your favorite Murray State traditions/experiences?
The Alpha Phi Alpha Step Show. It is the one event I have come to look forward to every spring semester. It’s an evening of intense competition and skill from all the competing teams. I have mad respect for anyone who steps at the Step Show.
What is something you’ve accomplished at Murray State that you’re most proud of and why are you proud of it?
I am most proud of being selected as a graduate assistant for the department of occupational safety and health as the intern/full-time placement coordinator. In my position, I am able to assist companies recruiting from our department by facilitating information sessions and interviews. I get to assist students in advancing their careers through acquiring hands-on internship experience opportunities. I have been able to help place more than 100 student intern and full-time candidates from our OSH department.
What opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?
Throughout my undergraduate and graduate career, Murray State and the OSH department have given me the opportunities to grow both personally and professionally by allowing me the experiences to develop into an independent, competent and successful young man. I have been able to acquire more than one-and-a-half years of hands-on safety and health internship work experience. I was also able to live in four different states, including Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois and Colorado via my internship experiences. I am truly appreciative and blessed to have been accepted into and gone to Murray State. I wouldn’t change my mind for a second if given another chance to attend this school.
What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?
Murray State University is a genuine “home away from home.” Being a smaller university, the classes are more intimate to maximize student learning and benefit student success. The campus is gorgeous and allows for many different opportunities to be taken and successes to be had.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
For incoming students, my advice would be to get involved in both on and off campus activities/organizations. Never settle for “average or less.” Stick to your studies but also take time to enjoy college. Don’t pass up opportunities to try something new, learn something new or meet someone new.