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Rachel Johnson, Baylor 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

Through the SUPEH summer internship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I gained valuable experience in a multitude of environmental health issues. The central project provided a long-term goal toward which to aim, partnering closely with a knowledgeable supervisor and getting to know various CDC staff in the process. Through my project, I was able to examine environmental health issues on a global scale, examining how infrastructure, hygiene, and sanitation practices influenced water quality on both a household and community level.

More than simply focusing on a single project over the course of the summer, however, I was able to enjoy supporting other professionals on side projects ranging from collecting data on pyrethroids, reviewing response plans for the ongoing severe drought in the Marshall Islands, and creating an inspection form to assist in the risk evaluation of households in American Samoa for typhoid outbreaks. These projects allowed me to branch out and support current issues across a broad range of topics as well as fostered collegial relationships with other professionals involved with these projects.

Finally, the unique field experiences that I was able to experience were truly eye-opening and educational. From the large corporate aspect of environmental health (e.g., meeting with the vice president of sustainability for Coca-Cola, touring a poultry processing facility) to the local level (e.g., digging in community gardens and seeing environmental justice neighborhoods), these field experiences provided insight into the role environmental health plays in every aspect of modern society and the importance of maintaining the delicate balance between human practices and the environment.