Profiles of Women of EPA: Maryann Suero
Maryann Suero, Environmental Health Scientist
EPA Region 5, Chicago, IL
Where were you born?
What brought you to EPA?
In my former career as a forensic toxicologist, I had no opportunity for prevention, so I went back to school later in life to study public health with a focus on environmental health. I was extremely fortunate to be hired for a job in Region 5 that was relevant to my education and built on my previous toxicology experience.
What type of work do you do at EPA?
I’m an environmental health scientist. I serve as the children’s health program manager and the school programs coordinator in our regional office. Children are more vulnerable to chemical exposures and environmental hazards: their bodies are still developing and they interact with the world differently from adults. Too often, people with decision-making authority for the places where children live, learn and play aren’t aware of these facts. I work to make sure that care-givers, including school and child care personnel, healthcare providers, parents and others, understand that they can reduce children’s exposure. That’s especially true inside homes and learning environments.
I have worked with many schools on chemical management issues, training hundreds of school personnel and science teachers how to better manage the chemicals they use every day. As a result, schools in our region’s states properly disposed of more than 150,000 pounds of outdated and unnecessary hazardous chemicals. More information about safe chemicals management in schools can be found in our Schools: Managing Chemicals site.
What is your highest level of education?
I received a Ph.D. in public health sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, focusing on environmental and occupational health sciences.
What message would you like to send other women who are considering college or a career in environmental protection?
Don’t hesitate! There’s so much to be done and so little time. Also, become a lifelong learner. Every experience you have contributes to what you bring to the table for any job you have.