Profiles of Members of EPA's Asian-American and Pacific Islander Community: Jay Hua
Jay Hua, Environmental Scientist
Water, Wetlands, Pesticides Division
Lenexa, KS (EPA Region 7)
Where were you born?
I was born in Saigon, Vietnam of Chinese ancestry.
What brought you to EPA?
I developed an interest in environmental sciences when I was in graduate school. That led to an unpaid, summer internship with the state of Oklahoma, and after a couple of other jobs, I applied for the EPA intern program, class of 2002. Initially, I was offered a position in EPA’s regional office in Seattle, Washington, but I really wanted to move back to the Midwest where I would be closer to my family in Oklahoma. Eventually a new EPA opportunity landed me a job in Kansas. The rest, as they say, is history.
What type of work do you do at EPA?
I’m the Region 7 pesticide import coordinator, so I handle all aspects of imported pesticides. I also review pesticides enforcement cases and handle the program’s data needs. Our enforcement program addresses the illegal importation of noncompliant pesticide products into the United States. Illegal pesticide imports include a wide range of products, and they may be unregistered, misbranded, adulterated, counterfeit, or imitation, produced at unregistered establishments, or produced using unauthorized sources of active ingredients.
Illegal pesticide imports can present significant human health and environmental risks and have been linked to poisonings of children and pets resulting from use of these products. Intercepting illegal pesticides before they enter into U.S. commerce is critical to protecting public health and the environment from the hazards posed by use of these products. All ten EPA regions have a pesticide import program. I just happen to be the one who handles the everyday tasks in the program for Region 7. I also work on pesticide enforcement cases unrelated to imports and handle the program’s data needs.
What is your highest level of education? What was your major?
I have a master of science in biology.
What message would you like to send other Asian Americans who are considering college or a career in environmental protection?
While the cliché career path for Asian Americans is either medical, legal, or business, if you have an interest in environmental protection, just go for it. Don’t think about the typical careers that Asian Americans go into or what your parents think your career should be. You are not typical. I’m speaking from my personal experience. I was accepted into medical school, but I never went. I simply knew it was not the career path for me.