Skip to main content

John Howell

John at the beach

Describe your job:

I’m the chemical hygiene officer, the building supervisor and the lab manager for Percival Hall. Right now, I’m also the COVID person. I’m not specifically on the research projects, but I help with equipment, processes and chemicals. I’m a background guy.


If you weren't working at WVU, what's the most likely alternative?

I think I’d be doing fisheries research or working for the state as a fisheries biologist.


Moment you knew what you wanted to do?

Probably when I was kid. All I did was fish and turn over rocks and hunt for snakes. I was always an outdoorsy person, so it just seemed to fit.


Moment you knew your current role was right for you?

I don’t do the same thing I did when I first got here. I was strictly fisheries research when I first got here. I took over this position in January. I knew it was right for me because I’ve been here for 22 years and I know everybody. I fit in the slot pretty easily and I really enjoy working with everybody - the faculty, staff and students.


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Right now?! That’s kind of a tough question right now with COVID and riots going on. I lived in Oregon right around Wood River. I really enjoyed that area: the Cascade Mountains, the rivers, the amount of fishing opportunities, not too crowded. If I could, I would go back there for a while. For good? I don’t know.


Favorite part of social distancing?

Ha! My favorite part of social distancing? Not getting bumped around in the grocery aisle.


Least favorite part of social distancing?

Honestly, I miss my mom. She’s older. I can’t give her a hug.