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CEET alum on front lines of NIH’s COVID response

July 27, 2020

A responder delivers medication to evacuees aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship. PHOTO CREDIT: NIH Record newsletter

Alum Brian Czarnecki ’98, ’00 was featured this month in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) NIH Record newsletter about his work on the front lines in the midst of the biggest headlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Czarnecki is a lieutenant commander for the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps an industrial hygienist at NIH’s Division of Occupational Health and Safety working on the front lines for the organization’s response to the pandemic.

He was on-site helping to quarantine the first Americans arriving home from Wuhan, China in February and helped escort passengers off the infected Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.

Engineering Technology Associate Professor William Mills, Ph.D. has been in touch with Czarnecki about his experience. “We have talked about how the response is making use of the courses in Hierarchy of Hazards Control, the Risk Assessment Matrix and Human Factors, all of which are covered in our Environmental Health and Safety program.”

Czarnecki earned two degrees from NIU’s College of Engineering Technology. He earned a B.S. in Industrial Technology in ’98 and a M.S. in Industrial Management in ’00.

In his own words, Czarnecki had this to say about his experience at NIU:

“I believe NIU had numerous contributions to my overall career success.  First, NIU gave me a chance to go to college which was really the first experience for my family of a blue-collar background.

Second, NIU provided me passionate instructors and hands-on training that allowed me to develop and understand, develop, and apply key fundamental principles desired in a competitive world (i.e. fundamentals of accident prevention, management of quality, etc.).  Certain professors (i.e. Dr. Hansen) took me under their wing and encouraged me to network and ultimately assisted me in obtaining my first career position in construction safety for a developer of high-rises in downtown Chicago.

Third, NIU provided me an opportunity to obtain a master’s degree at satellite locations which helped me further develop my career in a more convenient way.

Fourth, NIU provided opportunities to participate in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Alumni Board of Directors which gave me great insight into professional board operations…as well as offering to be a reference for key positions that I sought throughout my career.

Fifth, NIU offered me the opportunity to be an adjunct professor to share my knowledge and experience with both undergraduate and graduate students…allowing me to bring field practices into the classroom and then take those revisited theories back into the workplace.

Now, NIU is a key pool of resources that I use to discuss both leading industry and world issues…as well as identify both potential and trending solutions.  NIU has been a significant part of my entire professional career….because they always have had an open door.  All I had to do was seize the opportunity!  With Huskie Pride!”