For Tim Arr, his work as an environmental health officer with the Indian Health Service in Lawton, Okla., is more than just a job.

“I get to go to work and be part of the community,” says Arr, who graduated in 2017 with a degree in environmental health and safety. “Even just miles from home, I get to experience something diverse and exposure to different ways of life and norms. It’s enlightening.”

In August, he was invited to return to Missouri Southern to speak to the incoming freshman class as part of the First-Year Student Convocation.

“I was a little nervous, but honestly it was a great experience,” says Arr. “I wanted to let them know that when you enter college, you’re not alone. It can be the greatest learning experience and the start of a career, like it was for me.”

As a student, he did a 2015 internship with the Indian Health Service in Reno, Nev., as part of the Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training Extern Program. He followed up with a second internship in Billings, Mont.

After graduating, Arr joined IHS as a civilian before being commissioned as an ensign into the agency, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

In May 2018, he was commissioned as an officer. As a lieutenant (junior grade), his job continues to offer diverse experiences, including food safety inspections and industrial safety checks.