SRU safety management graduate guided toward immediate employment


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Despite changing majors twice during his four and a half years at Slippery Rock University, Tyler Broge found a path to success in the safety management program. He graduated Dec. 9, days before starting his new job in Harrisburg.

Dec. 12, 2023

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Tyler Broge was like many college-bound students who didn't quite know what he wanted to do in his career before coming to Slippery Rock University. He just knew he wanted to help people. After switching his major twice, overcoming uncertainty during the global pandemic, and finding inspiration for a career path from an unlikely source, Broge is well on his way to his goal of helping people.

Upon earning his degree in safety management at SRU and walking in the commencement ceremony Dec. 9, Broge will join Pennsy Supply in Harrisburg, Dec. 18, as a corporate environmental health and safety coordinator.

"I thought safety management had something to do with being a security guard," said Broge, a native of Beaver Falls. "As I learned more, I found out that I can really relate to safety; it's the perfect fit for me."

After considering nursing, Broge chose SRU for civil engineering, then switched again to education. None of these programs seemed to stick for long though, especially during the pandemic when a lot of his classes where online and lacked hands-on learning.

Broge was turned on to safety management when his cousin, Kristopher Morrell, '19, introduced him to the program. Safety professionals design, implement and maintain programs that improve safety and health in a variety of enterprises, including risk management in the workplace.

This type of work struck a nerve with Broge, whose father, Josh, a truck driver, has been afflicted by a back injury that occurred 12 years ago when he pinched his sciatic nerve after falling from an icy step of his 18-wheeler.  

"That that was one of the main things that really clicked with me on why I should go into safety management," Broge said. "I could've been a nurse treating people with injuries, or fixing a road as a civil engineer, but as a safety professional, I can stop things at their sources and help people before problems ever happen."

Two years after switching his major to safety management, Broge received a job offer in October 2023 to work at Pennsy Supply, a manufacturer of aggregate, asphalt, sand and concrete products. As a corporate EHS coordinator, Broge will visit quarries and plants to analyze their processes and make recommendations for improving the company's policies and procedures that keep their employees safe.

SRU has become a first-choice institution for many employers looking for new talent. Each year, SRU's Safety Management Career and Internship Expo sells out, as more than 100 companies request to come to campus and engage with SRU students entering safety professions.

"The safety management program is a powerhouse right now and it's something Slippery Rock is known for," Broge said. "The program does a great job preparing you and it's because of the personable, overly helpful professors. The professors were all safety professionals at one point in their careers. They have real-world experiences, and they all love to share what they know with students and provide the information we need."


Broge said he appreciated how professors were always willing to help and make time for students, even if it meant answering a question outside of their office hours. He got that impression on the very first day with the program. He spoke to Joe Cali, professor and department chair; his eventual academic advisor, Michael Adamczyk, assistant professor; and April Coleman, the department's clerical assistant. They collectively spent five hours with Broge on the day he took his cousin's recommendation to change his major to safety management.

"Tyler didn't know what he wanted to do in life, and he was obviously quite anxious at this point because he was almost three quarters of the way through his college career," Adamczyk said. "We sat down and discussed what a career in safety could look like. Then we mapped out his coursework, how soon he would be able to finish, and made a plan. He executed that plan quite well."

"They were so personable and willing to help me even though there was some doubt whether I would be able to switch majors with all the credits I had," Broge said. "After that day, I knew the department was for me. I wanted to be like them -- willing to help people, no matter what."

All of SRU's safety management majors are required to have at least one, 12-week internship. Almost every student receives a paid internship. Broge decided to go beyond the minimum. The summer after his first semester in the program, Broge worked as an occupational safety intern for the Dairy Farmers of America at a cheese manufacturing plant in nearby New Wilmington. Then, he took another occupational safety internship the following summer at Carpenter Technology, a titanium and metals manufacturer in Washington, Pennsylvania.

"I was able to apply what I learned in classes and from my first internship," said Broge, who continued to work part-time for Carpenter during the 2023 fall semester while he applied for jobs. "Through this experience, I developed the confidence and ability to talk to people and apply what I know to a real-world setting."

Broge's career is coming together at the same time as his personal life. Broge got engaged to his high school sweetheart, Laura Rose, while the couple attended SRU together. Rose, a 2022 SRU graduate with a degree in education, now teaches in the East Pennsboro School District in Harrisburg, close to where Broge will be working for Pennsy Supply. They plan to get married in June 2024.

"My story shows that students don't have to be afraid or feel trapped in a particular major," Broge said. "You can choose something you might like and then wind up in something else. The people at Slippery Rock helped me find my way."

"There are dozens of students who have the same story as Tyler's," Adamczyk said. "They come here and aren't really sure where they fit it but they find something that meets their needs. Then a short time later, they're walking across the stage at commencement set up for success."

More information about the SRU safety management program is available on the department's webpage.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854  |