Kymry H. Brooks, Findlay University
This content was created by an EHS intern to describe intern experiences. It has not been revised or edited to conform to agency standards. The findings and conclusions are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SUPEH Intern, Summer 2013
During my 10 week fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Environmental Health I had the opportunity to participate in activities with leaders in the field of environmental health on projects that impacted public health both in North America and overseas. The experience had an academic aspect that was conducive to learning new things every day. Journal club was held once every week and gave us a chance to discuss scientific articles that pertained to the theme of the week. We also had a guest speaker every Wednesday who was an expert in the area of the week’s theme. Our Friday field trips were another venue for learning and exploration in the field of environmental health.
I was assigned a project dealing with health communication and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in rural areas of Arizona. I created a technical field guide for public health professionals and volunteers working to eliminate RMSF and the brown dog tick. The guide included basic facts on the brown dog tick and RMSF as well as preventive recommendations.
Along with the field guide, I created a story board for a series of short videos targeted toward people living in affected areas of Arizona. Captain Miller guided me on this project and provided me with a previous video to help inform the script I wrote. I was able to complete this task within the duration of the internship.
Toward the end of the summer I had the opportunity to develop a project of my choice outside of my assigned division. The Division of Violence Prevention asked me to research effective programs for preventing intimate partner violence and sexual violence. This project allowed me to make connections with people outside of the field of environmental health.
Captain John Sarisky and Vince Radke asked the SUPEHs to assist in responding to a typhoid outbreak in American Samoa as well as a drought in the Marshall Islands. Both of these response projects put what I have learned over the past 4 years at school to the test. It was rewarding to know these projects had a real impact on people’s health and that we were able to deliver on the assignment in a timely manner.
My experience at CDC opened my eyes to the myriad of amazing things I can do with my degree and also helped narrow the scope of my interest for graduate school. I plan to pursue a master’s degree in the field of environmental health so I can better contribute to the field. I would like to someday return to CDC or another federal agency as an employee working to protect human health and the environment. I also learned a great deal about the U.S. Public Health Service and will seriously consider it as a career option after graduate school.
I would like to thank ORISE and the CDC for making this internship possible. It was an enriching learning experience that will help to shape my future career in environmental health.