When she began her studies at the University of Illinois, Rachel Janovsky would not have pictured herself working for an international aircraft manufacturing company. A 2018 graduate of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES), Janovsky has been able to leverage her College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) degree to ensure the health and safety of employees at Honda.
Janovsky started working at Honda’s automotive plant as a Safety Compliance Analyst. She created safety management plans, ensured the working environment was safe for assembly line workers, and prevented injuries through OSHA compliance. Janovsky later worked as the plant ergonomist. Discussing her time in the automotive industry, Janovsky points out that having traditional training in ACES sciences labs allowed her to better understand lab techniques and very essential safety methods.
Janovsky’s decision to choose NRES as a major was motivated by her goal of wanting to impact the world, while obtaining a hands-on education. In NRES, she learned ways to prevent natural disasters and help the environment. At Illinois, she was a James Scholar, member of Phi Sigma Sigma, served on the Panhellenic Council, and assisted on a research project with Dr. Eric Larson focused on the language in invasive species research papers. Janovsky published her research and won an award for her research poster she presented at Explore ACES. Students interested in experiences like Janovsky’s can learn more on the NRES section of the ACES website.
One of her favorite parts about attending the College of ACES was the small class sizes and strong community that she formed with her peers over the four years while pursuing her degree. “My time in ACES allowed me to have more one-on-one time with professors, which led me to learn the concepts better,” she says.
Janovsky recently started a safety role at Honda Aircraft Company. In her new role, she develops trainings and policies, ensures OSHA compliance, serves on the emergency responder team, evaluates new chemicals, and assists with injury preventative programs. Just as NRES provided her hands-on experiences impacting the world, Honda is affording her the same opportunity.
When asked to give advice for a young professional, Janovsky responded, “Five-year plans are a good starting point, but your career is going to lead you to places that you never imagined.”
She stresses the importance of taking advantage of opportunities when they are present. She also points out being a recent graduate provides you the unique chance to work or live somewhere you might not have considered previously.
In her free time, Janovsky likes to cook and has been able to develop her culinary skills during the pandemic.