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Conversations with the Inspiring Zarreen Amin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zarreen Amin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am fairly new to LA and came out about a year ago to pursue a master’s in public health with a focus on industrial hygiene (IH). Coming into IH was a stroke of luck because after graduating college, I had hopes of earning my Ph.D. However, while working as a research technician, I found research not only daunting (for me), but I also began to notice that I was not treated very well as an employee. I saw this as a pattern at both my positions post-graduation and wanted to do something about this poor treatment. While researching master’s programs, I came across UCLA’s prestigious industrial hygiene program and applied. Luckily, I was accepted and here I am, one year later!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was not a particularly smooth road for a number of reasons. I was moving away from Pennsylvania and the East Coast, where my social network and family was. Moves as big as these are always risky and downsizing your life into a few suitcases is extremely jarring. Furthermore, I struggled with buy-in and support from my parents, especially my mother who tried every trick in the book to keep me close: crying, guilt-tripping me, telling me that I probably wouldn’t get into UCLA, etc. (I want to note that she did these things to keep me close and it came out of the goodness of her heart, she’s not a bad person. Just extremely protective!). I did feel a lot guilty for being so far from my family, but I decided that this was the best thing for me and an opportunity that I could not say no to.

As far as advice goes… I would say do what you feel in your gut is right. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, especially when you have a solid plan in place. You got this, you can do anything!

what should we know about your business? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Currently, I am a 2nd-year graduate student at UCLA. I specialize in IH and just completed my internship as a Risk Control Consultant at Liberty Mutual. Something I am known for is working extremely hard and taking risks. This past year, I was awarded a scholarship and a stipulation of the award was to present an occupational-related topic in front of a group who awarded me the money, as well as whoever else, wished to join the presentation within the occupational health and safety field. I wanted to use my platform as a way to bring some more “controversial” topics into the spotlight so rather than picking a typical subject, I went with the health and safety of adult film workers. It was a proud moment for me because I chose such a risky topic and put a lot of research and effort into it. It was scary to see how it would be received, but thankfully, it was received quite well!

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
Growing up as a South Asian female, I felt like there was an unspoken ceiling I would hit in whatever I chose to do. Since I hate having people telling me what to do and whether or not, I am actually able to do something definitely shaped me wanting to take risks as an adult.

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