2010 Intern Profiles
Before this internship, I had never heard of environmental health and did not know what it entailed. Now I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on the topic and I am very interested in the links between the environment and public health.
Going forward, I will take a number of lessons that I have learned and experiences that I have gained through this internship into my career. By giving a number of presentations on topics including disparities in access to physical activity resources, as well as childhood obesity and the built environment, I have improved my presentation skills and efficacy as a public speaker. The breadth of knowledge that I was surrounded with during my time at the CDC extensively invoked my personal and professional growth.
There was never a dull moment in this internship. The CDC employees not only guided me in my quest for knowledge about environmental health, but they also became friends who I could count on. This summer’s group of interns was such an eclectic group. We all offered a different point of view and drew from a diverse bank of knowledge during our journal club discussions, brown bag lunches, and Friday fieldtrips.
Before interning at CDC, I did not have a specific environmental health area that I was intrigued by. But leaving here, I realize that my interest is in global medicine and global health. The field trip to the Carter Center stood out the most in me because it evoked an interest in which I plan to pursue a career. This internship is designed to be more than just a summer internship; it was truly a learning experience. I would recommend this program to anyone with or without a public health background. I am assured that this program will produce our future of public health leaders.
I would love to go into the public health field because of its diversity and large array of opportunities and different backgrounds people can come from. This internship taught me that leaders come in all shapes and sizes, they don’t necessarily have to be the loudest or most demanding, strongest or scariest, rather they just need to have passion, enthusiasm, and be a little creative along the way.
I was struck by how incredibly engaged people working at CDC were with us interns. I do not mean the occasional lunch meeting or even just those working with or mentoring an intern, either! From student researchers to program directors and branch chiefs…….everyone I met with was genuinely interested in speaking with us, whether it be about their careers and experiences, our interests and academic or career goals, or even the future of environmental health!
I really feel that being a sustainability intern gave me the chance to experience the best of both worlds. I worked on my independent project in the Office of Sustainability most weekdays but still had the opportunity to attend the weekly environmental health brown bags and field trips. My favorite part of the whole program was the chance to meet and speak with so many amazing people. Guest lecturers, supervisors, and mentors were all eager to offer guidance through the summer and beyond, and their advice has really helped me focus in on my future goals.
I wanted to work with environmental health issues in an exciting and interesting setting like the CDC. I was assigned a project that was perfectly aligned with my interests. I was assigned a wonderful mentor who gave me helpful advice for law school and set up appointments with high-level officials to help me network. And throughout this program, I was taken to meet countless people from different professions and backgrounds and to learn about different environmental health issues, so that I could benefit (which I did).
Environmental health gave a human face to my past perspective on environmental issues, which had consisted of climate change, ecosystem concepts, and biodiversity concerns. This internship demonstrated the unique connection between human health and environmental well-being, giving my studies relevance and allowing me to develop a social perspective to my environmental studies.
My work with the CDC's Office of Sustainability gave me the opportunity to work on the cause I care about most. Sustainability means building a world that is safe, comfortable, and inspiring for our generation, while allowing the generations to follow to thrive and grow. Integral to this personal view of sustainability is leaving room for the rest of the world, for trees, animals, wetlands, ecosystems and all their components. The people I met at the CDC showed me how this goal can be achieved in the real world, piece by piece and building by building.
The Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health internship exposed me to local, federal, and global perspectives of environmental health problems, allowing me to expand my knowledge of the subject. Each and every activity was conducive to learning while still being fun. The internship just strengthened my passion for environmental health. There is no doubt in my mind that I will continue to pursue further research in the field.
My fellow interns are what truly made the Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health program outstanding. Because everyone’s background is so diverse, I was able to learn so much from the others. It was a privilege to be around so many qualified and unique students that will be the leaders in this field. I will be leaving this internship with contacts and friends from across the country.
Through weekly journal article and literature review presentations, health professional speakers for brown bag lunches, and field trips all across Atlanta, I was introduced to environmental health topics such as epidemiology, toxicology, food safety, emergency preparedness, environmental justice and law, air quality, chemical release and exposure and climate change. I was particularly impressed by our Friday field trips because they tied in what I always knew as everyday businesses, museums or attractions to pressing issues of environmental health.
The visit to the West Atlanta Watershed Association affirmed my feelings that I enjoy working in areas that have a high proportion of residents with a lower socioeconomic status. I went back there after that visit and did a neighborhood cleanup with some residents of that area and had a number of good conversations with them, and felt accepted despite my background being diametrically opposed to theirs. The personal growth and education that I received on these trips were probably the most life changing and important things to me in this internship.
“Take advantage of other opportunities offered at the CDC (like working groups and Grand Rounds presentations) to learn about other public health issues. Also, get to know your coworkers. The people at CDC are extremely friendly and approachable. Don't hesitate to speak to people to learn more about a topic, to get help with your research, or to learn about their experience working in public health.”
- Jacob Aronson
“The amount of information and knowledge that an intern at CDC is exposed to is immeasurable! I grew a lot over the summer and would recommend this position to anyone who is interested in learning more about the numerous opportunities that are offered through CDC, NCEH, ATSDR and the entire field of environmental health. If you are ready to embark upon 10 weeks of excitement, professional development, and numerous "ah ha" moments, this internship is for you. My summer in Atlanta was by far, hands down, the best that I have ever experienced and that is something that cannot be taken away from me, ever.”
- Patrick Bloecher
“Take advantage of living and working in Atlanta. It’s an incredible city. The interns always had something planned whether it was an educational trip to the High Museum or trivia night. The whole internship was an amazing experience. Be sure to learn about the other interns and the CDC employees. Everyone has a different perspective to offer, so don’t be shy and get to know people. Network, network, network! Ask questions, speak up, and learn as much as you can in those 10 weeks!”
- Alexandra Blood
“My advice is to form a relationship with your supervisor and/or branch. My internship experience was as good as it was because I was able to form a great relationship with my branch in which there was always an open line of communication. In addition, it would be really beneficial to network with the people around you. Interning at the CDC is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and you should use it to do networking that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. But the most important advice I could ever give is to complete your assignments on time and do them well. Nothing impresses your supervisors more that having an efficient intern. They may even decide to bring you back!”
- Zuri Dale
“The most valuable piece of advice that I can give is to not be intimidated by the application process and let your passion for being a part of the internship show above other factors. This latter part, I think, speaks more than numbers, statistics, or awards. Being a part of the CDC for the summer was one of the most influential and climactic experiences I have had, but you also have to make it so by taking advantage of every opportunity you can find there. By the end of the summer you will be overwhelmed with how much you learned if you take the extra time to make the most of all that is within reach or that which could be valuable in any way.”
- Farah Malik
"I have two pieces of advice for future CLEH interns. First, take control of your summer! Network as much as you can, take initiative with your summer project, and try to learn as much as you can while you are at the CDC. You only get to be a CLEH intern once, so treat every day with special importance. Second, seriously consider living at Emory for the summer. I very much enjoyed living with other interns and I'm certain my experience would not have been as complete had I lived somewhere else independently.”
- Matthew Mulroy
“I learned so much about myself by pursuing opportunities within the CDC, but [I] also utilized the opportunity of having a full time job to figure out how I like to lead my life. Of course the program will help cultivate your career interests, but it is much more than that- It's a little bit of life training: figuring out how to balance priorities in your work and your life, especially when considering that your work involves the well-being of others.”
“Sign up for all of the daily CDC e-mails. This will open the door to a ton of opportunities available to you. Don't be shy! Be sure to take every opportunity to approach CDC employees. They were very friendly and were more than happy to talk about their role at CDC, how they got there, and their ideas about the future of Environmental Health. Go out and explore Atlanta over the weekends. It is a great city with a lot to offer.”
- Alicia Rolin
“My two best pieces of advice would be to stay flexible and seize every opportunity. The CLEH program is a learning experience professionally and personally. I was impacted by my work in the office, in the field, as well as the Atlanta area. The staff at the CDC are always willing to sit down and talk to you about their own background. I appreciated the numerous resources available in the office as well as the field to supplement your specific assignment, it made for a comprehensive program."
- Bryant Shannon
“…you'll meet leaders at the CDC whose creative, progressive and intellectual thinking fostered the eradication of smallpox, leaders at the Carter Center who labor to eliminate curable diseases in developing countries; leaders on call 24/7 at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for worldwide emergencies and who have been vital in responding to 9/11, the 2001 anthrax attacks, Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill; and most of all, all the public health leaders who work tirelessly and humbly behind the scenes of every aspect of our lives: from protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat to improving the safety, accessibility and beauty of our built environment for all Americans regardless of socioeconomic status. Enjoy the company of your peers, the learning experience from top CDC leaders, and all that Atlanta has to offer! You will do great things and have great fun in the process!”
- Jennifer Wang
“Take advantage of everything. The city of Atlanta has a ton to offer. Exploring the city with the other interns and spending time with them was one of the most memorable parts of the internship. There are so many things you can do at the CDC from side projects to visiting other offices and people at the CDC. I found everyone I talked to was extremely willing to talk about the work they were doing and give me advice. Don't be afraid to ask questions!”
- Kevin Wright