University of Washington School of Public Health
Jose Carmona (BA, Public Health 2015) grew up working in the orchards of the Yakima Valley picking apples, cherries, peaches and pears. “You name it, I picked it,” Carmona says.
Now he facilitates research and helps promote best health and safety practices for people cut from the same cloth—farmers, fishermen and forestry workers in the Northwest.
Carmona is a full-time program coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, within the School’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. He began as a research intern and assisted with various field studies, including projects on heat-related illness among agricultural workers and pesticide exposure in dairy workers. He joined the team part time during his senior year and moved into his current role after graduation.
“Doing research to improve the health of people who work in agriculture makes me happy,” Carmona says.
When he was a freshman, Carmona found the support system he needed at the College Assistance Migrant Program. Designed to help students from migrant and seasonal farmworker families, the program provided academic and financial assistance, as well as advice on life beyond campus.
“The CAMP program, in short, was my home away from home,” Carmona says. “They did a great job helping me build the foundation for a successful undergraduate career.”
To give back to the program that meant so much to him, Carmona returned to CAMP as a mentor for other first generation Latino students. That solidified his desire to improve the lives of migrant workers and their families.
“When I participate in field research, I can relate to the workers on a personal level,” Carmona says. “I know what it means to work from sunrise to sunset, and I understand the barriers farm workers face every day.”