Student Spotlight: Andrew Satterlee

Captain Steven “Andrew” Satterlee: Navigating the intersections of military service, public health and environmental science

For Army captain, environmental scientist and University of Florida student Andrew Satterlee, the sky is the limit as he fuses his scientific prowess with his military dedication to reach new heights in the public health realm.

The 37-year-old has been enrolled in the Master of Public Health in Environmental Health program within the UF Department of Environmental and Global Health at the College of Public Health and Health Professions since fall 2022. 

Born into a military family in Abilene, Texas, Satterlee has always been keen about science, the outdoors and how exposure to different environments impact human health. 

He pursued his interests during his undergraduate years at the University of Dubuque by taking a course that allowed him to study environmental science and ecology in Paraguay for a month. His exploration led to a chance rediscovery of a species, Aeglid crabs, which were thought to be extinct in Paraguay since the 1980s.

From there, his affinity for science and its intricacies have only skyrocketed.

The following year, Satterlee began his first master’s program at Southeast Missouri State University in 2009, studying water quality and the impacts of deforestation on aquatic ecosystems.

In 2015, Satterlee began a career with the U.S. Army as an Environmental Science and Engineering Officer. Years later, in 2022, Satterlee was chosen by the U. S. Army to participate in the Army Medical Department’s Long Term Health Education and Training (LTHET) program. The opportunity allows select medical officers to study a health care specialty, acquire advanced education within their specific field of specialization, and return to the Army upon program completion to apply these skills within a specific assignment.

Capt. Andrew Satterlee collects water samples from bulk water storage as part of a routine water quality analysis conducted in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. 

“I wanted to specifically pursue an M.P.H. at UF to better balance my more traditional natural science background with a practice-driven health focus,” he said. “LTHET is a selective program that takes about a year to get notification of selection, but it’s well worth the effort, in my opinion.”

As an active-duty captain, Satterlee holds the title of a Preventive Medicine Environmental Science and Engineering Officer (72D) within the Medical Service Corps.

“I am lucky enough to have a pretty wide scope of responsibilities,” he said. “In a nutshell, I work on all issues related to environmental health that could impact military personnel.”

The role is best described as mitigating risk to military personnel on anything that can impact health and safety related to the air, water, soil, communicable disease, and the flora and fauna within a given area he may be working in at the time, he said.

For instance, Satterlee may focus efforts at one location collecting and analyzing air quality data and drinking water, while at another area, he may concentrate on collecting mosquitos to screen for pathogens of military concern.
Since he serves as a source of expertise on a wide variety of environmental health topics, much of Satterlee’s duty lies in mitigating risk to personnel and  determining the next steps, making it vital to have a comprehensive understanding of public health. 

“Being in a position that allows me the opportunity to work with such a great field of professionals while simultaneously having the ability to continue to grow, learn and improve my professional skill set is so gratifying,” he said.

Additionally, pursuing his master’s degree at UF opened Satterlee’s eyes to new perspectives of understanding public health from a holistic standpoint.

“I honestly have always leaned primarily toward environmental health, disaster preparedness and response, and health care support and have never really thought too much about the psychology aspect behind the field,” he added.

Despite being out of his comfort zone, Satterlee particularly enjoyed taking “Psychological, Social, and Behavioral Issues in Public Health,” a class focused on building public health campaign initiatives using behavioral models in the field. He is applying these skills to develop educational and risk mitigation aids for military personnel assigned to locations with active open-air burn pits.

Satterlee acknowledged facing challenges as he returned to school as an M.P.H. student, particularly in readjusting to the classroom environment. But nearly two years later, his experience has only broadened his perspective on the intersection of military service, public health and environmental science, better equipping him to serve post-graduation with an enhanced skill set. 

Capt. Satterlee took a trip to the Great Pyramid of Giza while stationed in the Sinai Peninsula to collect water samples in 2018.

With excitement and optimism for the journey ahead, Satterlee hopes to expand upon his interests in vector-borne diseases and the impact of air quality on human health and safety during the latter half of his career in the Army.

“I hope the work I do makes a positive impact on the health and well-being of service members and their families long after my career is over,” he said.

Hear from former MHS One Health Student!

Make a Difference with One Health

Learn More About EGH