Shelby Johnson (BSEEE 2022) shifts from jobseeker to recruiter at 2023 Industrial Roundtable

Shelby Johnson moved 5 times before beginning college, living everywhere from Alpharetta, Georgia to Kuwait for her father’s job at the U.S. State Department. Knowing that she wanted to pursue engineering with a sustainability focus, Johnson was drawn to Purdue EEE because of its flexibility.

“EEE gave me the opportunity to forge my own degree path and familiarize myself with different areas until I found my passion,” Johnson says. 

After graduating with a BSEEE in 2022, Johnson was hired into Parker Hannifin’s Leadership Development Program in Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), a two-year, rotational position. Her first role in Hollis, NH, provided training in risk and ergonomics (how to calculate, reduce the scores and potential impacts on our team members). Johnson then moved to Ravenna, OH to learn about Environmental Management Systems before focusing on ESG reporting in Cleveland, OH. Next, Johnson will join the fluid connectors group in Grantsburg, Wisconsin to learn about behavior-based safety techniques and complete an operations rotation.

“Parker’s EHS program embraces learning and combines my passion for sustainability and human well-being. You can be qualified, but you have to be passionate to do your best work.”

Johnson’s current position as Leadership Development Associate (LDA) in EHS at Parker Hannifin consists of four roles: risk and ergonomics; environmental permitting, disposal, and due diligence; behavior-based safety (creating a positive safety culture that empowers employees to make smart decisions); and serving as a connection between management and manufacturing. 

“EEE graduates have the same technical skills as any Purdue engineer, but we are well rounded in understanding both the technical and human (political, cultural, economic) aspects that impact challenges and, in turn, their solutions,” Johnson claims. 

Parker is moving toward expanding its EHS role to include more environmental and industrial sustainability considerations, and aims to be carbon neutral by 2040.

“Our job in EHS is to find opportunities to reduce Parker’s carbon footprint and ensure occupational health and safety. Our policies must be applicable to a diverse group of people, products, and processes. The engineering expertise I gained in EEE allows me to communicate effectively across different areas to achieve those goals.”

Johnson returned to Purdue’s campus in September 2023 to represent Parker Hannifin at the Purdue Engineering's Industrial Roundtable, one of the largest career fairs in the nation.

“I want current EEE students to have the broadest range of career opportunities possible because I valued and benefited from that aspect of the program. EEE’s faculty cared about my wellbeing, success, and training. I want to pay that mentorship forward, Johnson explains.  

Shifting from jobseeker to recruiter in just one year, Johnson has gained valuable insight from sitting on both sides of the table. 

“Recruiters want to meet enthusiast, authentic, and engaged students. Do your research. Ask questions about workplace culture, daily tasks, and future opportunities. If your goal is to help other people, you have to help yourself first by finding a position you enjoy, has room for growth, and in which you feel valued.”


Writer:  Jessica MehrPurdue Environmental and Ecological Engineering

Source:  Shelby Johnson