Meet our new MScOEH Graduate, Matt Wagstaff

Smoke curling out of chimneys is a common and cozy sight around British Columbia, especially once the colder weather hits. Unfortunately, as a significant source of air pollution, residential wood smoke can also harm public health.

To better understand how residential wood smoke affects air quality in B.C. communities, Matt Wagstaff, a new graduate of the UBC Master of Science in Occupational Health and Environmental Hygiene program, undertook a thesis project to develop a new mobile monitoring method for air quality. Matt explains his research in a recent profile

Matt’s interest in this unique program grew out of his desire to work in an applied science role. What really attracted him to hygiene was the health component –

“By applying the skills you learn in this field you can really have an impact on reducing exposures and improving the health of people and communities. Hygiene to me is a really interesting field because it is so practical”.

In September 2017, Matt was the recipient of the Elizabeth Henry Scholarship for Communities and Environmental Health award. It is dedicated for graduate students working on research projects in partnership with BC communities that are addressing environmental health issues and promoting environmental sustainability through cooperative community initiatives.

Matt is also encouraging future students to consider OEH. Reflecting on his experience as a new graduate, he recalls that there are many things he learned that he might not have thought about before the program. It covers the field in great detail, from learning about health impacts of exposures, to how to monitor and assess them, and then finally how to control and reduce them.

“There are lots of practical projects out in the field during our courses and you can then choose between completing an in-depth thesis (like I did) or a four-month work term. From these you develop various technical skills and gain a lot of hands-on experience”.

Applications are now open for our September 2019 intake. Learn more about OEH’s curriculum, where graduates work and how to apply. The deadline to apply is February 1, 2019.