As National Safety Month continues, we profile CSU alum Michael Garza, a Safety Programs administrator with Toyota USA in Texas, who actually didn’t plan to go into occupational safety and health at first.
“I originally wanted to be a mechanical engineer, however, the intensive math requirements lead me to reconsider,” he said with a smile. “I selected OSH because of my interest in engineering, coupled with a desire to solve challenges in various workplace settings.” Solving challenges is perhaps what Garza likes most about working in occupational safety and health.
“I truly enjoy working with people, supporting our company goals and solving problems,” said the 17-year Toyota worker. “I come to work each morning with a clean slate of how I want to organize my work and I love that. There is an extensive amount of responsibility along with the freedom to plan on how to best apply it.”
Garza came to CSU in 2011 seeking a master’s degree in OSH with a concentration in environmental management.
Attracted by CSU’s master’s degree, affordable cost per course and easy enrollment process, Garza said he soon realized this online university would be his happy, educational home. Working, going to school and raising a family were challenging, Garza said, and business travel “really threw my learning schedule off. Also, holidays were so confusing.” However, he was grateful CSU’s student-supportive staff and faculty and flexible courses helped him through it all.
His coursework also helped Garza in another way. “I really noticed a difference in my confidence level while achieving my master’s degree in terms of subject matter and communication ability,” he said.
This meant more confidence in his interactions with others, particularly after he graduated with his master’s degree and received a promotion to his current job. As Toyota Safety Programs administrator, he reviews occupational safety regulations, compliance and provides interpretation of OSH safety rules.
Overall, Garza is proud of what he accomplished with his degree and added, “I think the education I received at CSU has strengthened my contribution to the organization I work for.”