Summertime Standout: Zach Johnson, environmental health

Zach posing in YMCA uniform and badge
Zach Johnson, environmental health major, interned at YMCA of the Rockies this summer. (Photo provided by Johnson.)

Zach Johnson knows a thing or two about tailored denim suits thanks to his impeccable fashion sense, and a lot about risk management thanks to his summer internship with YMCA of the Rockies at Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado.

Johnson, a resident assistant beginning his senior year at CSU this fall, discovered his passion for environmental health while talking to a resident of his in Corbett Hall. “I have a passion for talking to people and problem solving to improve their lives,” Johnson said.

When his academic advisor, Erin Reichert, posted an internship application for YMCA of the Rockies, Johnson knew he wanted to apply, without realizing how competitive the process would be. After submitting his initial application, Johnson underwent two phone interviews and before being selected.

“Zach demonstrates such a high level of maturity and enthusiasm as he explores the wealth of options available to him with his degree,” said Reichert.

YMCA of the Rockies serves as a vacation destination for families, hosts summer camps for the youth, and serves as a venue for reunions and weddings. From zip lining to s’mores around the campfire, and horseback riding to hiking, YMCA of the Rockies prioritizes safety and even created a series of safety videos.

Keeping employees, visitors safe

As the risk management intern at YMCA of the Rockies, Johnson assesses workplace environments and provides recommendations to help different departments improve employee safety and reduce potential risks and health hazards.

Specifically, Johnson made recommendations to include checking and providing input for first-aid kits, and he inspected and provided input on working and walking surfaces that posed hazards to pedestrians.

Zach posing in his denim suit and matching fedora
Zach’s denim suit, and matching fedora. (Photo provided by Johnson.)

“My internship has helped me fine-tune my skills in creating environmental health documentation and increased my understanding of the environmental health field,” Johnson said.

Johnson chose to come to CSU without ever having stepped foot on campus. “I did not anticipate going to college after high school,” Johnson said.

After learning his high school grades could get him into college, he applied to several colleges. “CSU was the first university to accept me, and without ever seeing campus, I became college bound.”

 After graduation, Johnson plans to enter the field to improve his technical skills before applying for a graduate program to specialize in his field of choice, which he is still exploring.

“I genuinely enjoy helping people and improving the quality of their lives in any way I can,” Johnson said. “Helping other really helps me achieve a purpose and meaning in the work I do, and I enjoy seeing people smile.