December 1, 2023

Student Spotlight: Kalyn Chism

Kalyn Chism, an avid do-it-yourselfer who loves puzzles and exploring museums, began her career in safety while working at the Home Depot as a safety captain. When a move took her to Bremerton, Washington, she researched the safety field in depth and decided that pursuing a degree in Occupational Safety and Health would be the right path for her career. She knew she wanted to pursue her degree online and after some research, she quickly began her courses at Columbia Southern University.

She found the courses challenging, enjoying the connections she was making between what she learned at the Home Depot and the lessons and regulations she was now absorbing in the classroom.

While she was pursuing her degree full-time, she helped out at local “mom and pop” hardware store, putting some of her newfound knowledge and skill to use.

Kalyn then began pursuing and applying for internship opportunities around the country. She worked a three –month paid internship at PerkinElmer near Boston, where she focused on medical, chemical, and radiation safety. While extremely valuable, this setting was opposite of Kalyn’s hardware store experience and self-proclaimed love for all things DIY.

“I wanted an internship that was challenging and not necessarily construction related. To find my passion, I knew I had to do something completely different from what I had been used to.”

Through her internship, Kalyn was exposed to safety aspects and regulations she learned about through her courses at CSU. She loved being able to apply what she learned through her studies and put it to use at PerkinElmer.

“You can imagine things when you’re studying but to finally be able to use that knowledge in a hands-on way is so different and rewarding.”

Kalyn has recently relocated to Norfolk, Virginia and will finish her degree in May. She is an active member of American Society of Safety Engineers and Women in Safety Engineering. She attributes so much of her knowledge and hands-on experience to her internship and encourages others to pursue an internship in their field, as well.

“My internship was so pivotal for my experience and provided that link from my courses to my career. If you’re not already working in the field you are getting a degree in, pursue an internship. It will make your classes come to life.”