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Boise State Alumnus Shares Experience as a Veteran and Public Health Graduate

Mike Wright graduated last May with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and an emphasis in environmental and occupational health.

The Boise State alumnus now works as a senior safety engineer with Micron. His background in occupational Health informs his work evaluating workplace hazards in the engineering space.

Before Wright embarked on his degree path he joined the United States Air Force.

An immigrant, Wright joined the Air Force out of a feeling of duty to the “country that took him in” and continued his service for just over 22 years. Both of Wright’s parents were also in the military.

Wright worked closely with the Air Force’s public health and flight medicine clinics to evaluate and control occupational and environmental health hazards, leading him to pursue a public health degree.

From a public health perspective, Wright said he sees a cultural gap between civilian and veteran populations.

“Anyone trying to address the public health needs of the veteran population needs to try to bridge that gap by asking questions that help understand the culture and environment that we come from, and to understand that the answers are going to be wildly different based on the branch of service and job each veteran had within that branch,” Wright said.

In an effort to help health programs better serve veterans, Wright joined a patient research group that helps provide feedback on services and health outcomes for veterans.

Wright said he hopes the project will steer health care systems in the right direction by prioritizing services for the expanding population of veterans with significant health issues.

“There is a long way to go, but I have hope that the project will move things in the right direction,” Wright said.