Students tasted the future by sitting in on presentations from some of the top industry safety and health professionals in the country. The Keene State College American Society of Safety Engineers [ASSE] Student Chapter held a professional development conference on Friday, April 17.

With the idea of “building a community of future safety leaders,” ASSE hosted the conference to provide attendees with the opportunity to expand their professional networks. Other goals of the event consisted of providing KSC students with the experience of attending a professional development conference and provide an atmosphere for sustainable safety professional education for the future.

Brady Keene is an Organizational Liaison for KSC ASSE and helped put together the event as conference chair. Keene said the estimated 200 KSC students and alumni that attended the event was “an outstanding number for an event that is only in its first year.”

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

“The opportunity that this event gave students and professionals accomplished our main conference goal, which was to bring together current leaders in the safety and health profession and future leaders in the safety health profession, to build a community of leaders that will sustain the quality and professionalism that the KSC Safety program produces every year after graduation,” Keene said.

“The professionals that were able to attend were able to give back to the community that [they] were once a part of,” Keene said. He said the conference itself “helps the Keene State College name.”

“We all know that we have been through some difficult times in the past year or so and events like this help current students and alumni proudly say that they graduated or will graduate from Keene State,” he said.

Keene said conferences are a great way for students to “have the opportunity to practice their personal and networking skills” while obtaining contacts that could be useful in the future.

As a senior at KSC, Keene said events such as this have helped him grow as a person and the contacts he has made will continue to stay with him throughout his collegiate and professional career.

Presentations included, but were not limited to top industry safety and health professionals concentrated in construction, ergonomics, emergency response, industrial hygiene, manufacturing, insurance and certification agency representatives.

Peter Tandy, the Assistant Director for Graduate Studies at KSC, was in attendance at the conference.

“These types of workshops really help students to rub elbows with companies,” Tandy said. He encouraged students to continue their education to achieve a master’s degree.

“It’s important for students to engage with people of the industry,” he said. Many vendors and exhibitors attended the conference with hopes of educating students and the possibility of providing them with internship opportunities.

Andrew Palhof, a Compliance Assistance Specialist, was at the event representing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Palhof undertakes the role of training outreach and education of OSHA and works as a team leader with the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). According to the OSHA website, VPP is a program designed to “work cooperatively and proactively to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses” through a system focused on an extensive list of paramount construction site conditions.

“It’s important to generate interest,” Palhof said about being involved in a college professional development conference. “It shows the students the type of opportunities that are out there.”

Palhof said he attends conferences prepared with job opportunities in the OSHA office for students that are eligible.

Other vendors and exhibitors that attended the conference included KSC Graduate Studies/Continuing Education, the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, KSC Alumni and Parent Relations, Beeze Tees, MSA: The Safety Company and Lynn Ladder & Scaffolding.

MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at

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