Profiles of Hispanics at EPA: Neftalí Hernández-Santiago
Neftalí Hernández-Santiago, Environmental Scientist,
Groundwater and Drinking Water Branch
Question: Where were you born?
Neftalí Hernández-Santiago: Puerto Rico.
Question: Where did you go to college? What was your major?
Neftalí Hernández-Santiago: I studied at the University of Puerto Rico. I have a bachelor’s of science in biology and a master’s in public health.
Question: What brought you to EPA?
Neftalí Hernández-Santiago: I always wanted to work for the agency. I was captivated by its mission: “to protect human health and the environment.”
Question: What kind of work do you do at EPA?
Neftalí Hernández-Santiago: I work with the implementation of the Area-Wide Optimization Program (AWOP) in Region 7. The AWOP program is a multi-state effort in which states and EPA work together to develop and implement activities to optimize treatment and disinfection capabilities of conventional surface water treatment plants in each state in an effort to increase public health protection. While originally developed to address microbial contaminants, AWOP has expanded beyond the original tools and is an ever-changing and ever-growing program that now addresses both microbial contaminants and disinfection byproducts in drinking water utilities. I also work with the development of drinking water regulations and I am part of a team that responds to large scale emergencies affecting drinking water utilities.
Question: What message would you like to send young Latinos who are considering going to college?
Neftalí Hernández-Santiago: I think a college education is meaningful and worth every penny. Envision the kind of job you would like to do and then decide the educational path that will lead you to that job. Best luck to you.