Associate degrees

Odessa Early College High School Accelerating Associate Degrees

(TNS) — Interest in health and safety has transformed Genesis Batie’s life and career path.

Batie, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science in Leadership from Odessa College, now works for the Texas Department of Health Services as a health environment specialist. She also earned a degree in Occupational Safety and Environmental Technology.

“I go out and inspect businesses to make sure they are following all the protocols and regulations put in place by OSHA. And I make sure there’s no danger in the workplace, I make sure all the food…is up to date to make sure everybody doesn’t get sick,” to help prevent foodborne illnesses, Batie said.

The 21-year-old Odessa native has only been at the state health department’s Midland office for a short time, but she said it has been difficult because of COVID.

“We want to make sure that everything is fine, that our workplaces are safe and that everything is up to date. … We really try … to encourage employees around us to follow your hand washing protocols, be sure to wear a mask. Of course, not everyone will want to wear a mask, but we try to teach the importance of wearing a mask because…a lot of illnesses and things that people catch are primarily airborne. Much of it can get into food. It can make people sick and even contaminate other areas around us, even outside of our food, such as the utensils we eat with, the surfaces we put our food on. … A little bit of everything (can) contribute to foodborne illness, so it’s really important that you follow these protocols,” Batie said.

Acknowledging that it can make you paranoid, Batie said the health department’s job is to make sure everyone follows the rules.

“And we really try to encourage them. We often come in to inspect; we try to let them know that we are there to work with them and (not) there to criticize the company or give negative feedback. We’re here to help them maintain the best business possible and follow through on that by helping their clients keep the business going,” Batie added.

In addition to visiting restaurants, she will also visit schools and youth camps. Its territory will cover an area from Crane to El Paso.

She is expected to take a state board exam at the end of January to become certified. As soon as she does this, she can travel throughout the region.

“A lot of that comes back into play, other than foodborne illness, just making sure the overall environment (is) free of hazards…”

For example, if she went to a daycare, she would make sure there were no cleaning supplies on the counter or improperly stored food, which could make someone sick.

“We really try to make sure they know what foods need to be stored where and the exact temperatures they need to … keep these types of bacteria and viruses under control,” Batie said.

She became interested in occupational safety and environmental technologies while attending Odessa Career & Technical Early College High School (OCTECHS), one of the first high schools in Ector County ISD, where students can graduate high school and an associate degree at the same time.

“…At the time, I didn’t know anything about OSHA, I was actually going to be a business major. And after being there for about a month, it gave us the opportunity to shop around to see what other programs are offered. Well, one of them turned out to be OSET. When I got there I got a better in depth idea of ​​what they stand for, how they like to protect others and the importance of maintaining safety and health standards. When I arrived there and started doing the classes, I found it very interesting. And I thought I wanted to be part of the change. I want to try to make sure that everyone has the right to a safe working environment, because it is very important for our businesses to continue to function. So that’s what really drove me to look for jobs and… more opportunities, where I can really show how I can help change the way the security world works,” Batie said.

No one in Batie’s family has health and safety experience, but she said she was inspired by Jessica Jordan, head of the OSET department at Odessa College.

Jordan had decades of experience in the security field and is now in his sixth year at Odessa College.

Jordan said Batie was initially a shy, quiet and very reserved young woman. But over the years, she blossomed into “a very well-spoken young lady, and then she moved into our bachelor’s degree and it all took off from there.”

“She thinks about safety and sees things safely like some of us who have been in the field for years. She looks at everything very critically and she’s just an amazing student. I think she’s going to working for the health department is absolutely fabulous. She’s going to do an amazing job for them,” Jordan said.

Jordan added that she thought of Batie’s world and had gained confidence over the years to come out of her quietness.

“…I can’t say enough good things about her. If there was one student in my career that I look back on and am so proud of, it’s Genesis. The incredible growth I’ve seen in this girl over the past four years blows my mind,” Jordan said.

What she loves about her job is meeting new people from different cultures and professions.

She added that many of the skills she learned can also be applied to other businesses.

Batie said she thought the OC program was really good.

“I think it’s a very good opportunity. A lot of kids today, due not only to certain situations…when it comes to money and opportunities, they don’t really have the tools and things available for them to find in order to go further with their education. I feel like programs like OCTECHS really help build a base for younger generations to go out there and try to keep pushing education further because that’s very important now, especially with our economy growing so fast it really needs to have the tools to pursue an education of any kind,” Batie said.

She said earning a BAAS degree was a key to advancing in her career, but it wasn’t just the degree that helped her.

“I would really just say the program itself because it really helped me get a head start, because when I graduated from high school, I also graduated with my partner and that’s what really helped motivate me to keep going,” Batie said.

She added that it is rewarding to have earned a bachelor’s degree in a short time at OC.

“I feel really accomplished because when I started I was a little nervous because I didn’t really think about what I was getting into. I thought it was going to be kind of like (a)…like piece of cake. It was actually work. I had a lot on my plate, but over time I became more confident. I really took my studies seriously and wanted to show others that ‘it’s possible to go there,’ Batie said.

At the time, she was 18 but she was able to do what she had to do.

“It was a very, very great sense of accomplishment,” she added.

Batie has a younger sister and she tried to encourage her to attend OCTECHS, but she loves sports, which early college high schools don’t offer.

“So she decided she was going to stay at OHS and continue her sports there. She loves football, so she’s trying to get a scholarship,” Batie said.

©2022 The Odessa American (Odessa, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.