Scott Voorhees, Wittenberg class of 1978, is putting his uncommon double major in biology and East Asian Studies to work as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) international team.
Originally from Princeton, New Jersey, Voorhees moved to Japan for two years to teach English after graduating from Wittenberg. Not completely sure about his career path, he sought advice from one of his Wittenberg professors, Horton Hobbs in the biology department, regarding any suggestions he may have for an advanced degree.
“Given my unusual dual major, he suggested environmental science, which led me to my master’s degree and then to my career at the EPA,” said Voorhees, who was honored as a Wittenberg University Lifetime Fellow in 1999, the program’s inaugural year. “A decade later my work at the EPA directly led to the opportunity to begin a doctoral degree program. To this day, I appreciate how significantly Wittenberg influenced my professional career path, and the inspiration of my faculty mentors. The access that we had to our professors was something I suspect is rare among universities.”
Voorhees currently works at the EPA’s national air program headquarters office located in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. He is a benefit-cost analyst who uses the computer model “BenMAP” to estimate health benefits associated with changes in air pollution levels.
“I work on the EPA’s international team, assisting China and other Asian nations with their air quality management programs,” Voorhees said. “I also coordinate foreign delegations visiting EPA on study tours. My favorite parts include occasional travel to Asian countries and introducing various aspects of air quality management in a capacity-building context. The most challenging parts include ensuring that our activities and policies always comply with strict legal and ethical standards.”
Earning his master’s degree from Miami University and his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo’s School of Public Health, Voorhees is a two-time Fulbright Scholar, who studied at the Japan Ministry of Environment to examine the country’s approaches to air pollution control and then at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, where he studied the health benefits of reducing air pollution in Shanghai. He also earned a Japanese Abe Research Fellowship to estimate health benefits of reducing air pollution in Pacific Rim cities.
During his time at Wittenberg, he was a member of the East Asian Studies Club, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and Christian Fellowship, a disc jockey at WUSO, the university’s radio station, and a founding member of Wittenberg’s first Ultimate Disc Club team, the UFOs or Ultimate Frisbee Organization.
As a freshman resident in Firestine Hall in 1974-75, Voorhees was part of the Living-Learning program in which professors came to the dorm to teach classes to help the newcomer residents form lasting friendships quickly. He spent his junior year at Kansai University of Foreign Studies in Osaka, Japan, studying various aspects of Japanese culture, including language, religion, sociology, psychology, art, and history. While teaching English in Japan, he met his wife, Cathy, who was also teaching for the same organization.