Past Intern Success Stories
National Environmental Public Health Internship Program (NEPHIP)
The students who participated in NEPHIP had a wide variety of experiences working for Environmental Health Departments across the United States. Learn about their experiences below and consider applying to host a student or participate as an intern.
*The student application deadline for 2017 has been extended to February 13th, 11:59PM PST.
Emily, Environmental Health Major
Colorado State University
Internship Location: Tanana Chiefs Conference - Office of Environmental Health, Fairbanks, Alaska
Responsibilities: There was no typical day-to-day schedule for Emily during her internship. Almost every week, she would travel to one of the many villages that Tanana Chiefs Conference Office of Environmental Health (OEH) serves in the interior of Alaska. At the villages, which are typically only accessible by small airplanes, she would work with the OEH staff to vaccinate dogs against rabies, conduct health and safety surveys of health clinics, complete sanitary surveys of water treatment plants, give presentations about the challenges of bed bugs in rural Alaska and participate in health fairs. Emily was responsible for the wildfire action plans for families to prepare for wildfires, creating air quality education posters and compiling consumer confidence reports of water systems.
In Her Own Words: “During one of my first weeks, I was invited to a conference for youth and elders within the interior of Alaska called Denakkanaaga. At this conference I assisted the OEH staff with a presentation about bed bugs in rural Alaska and learn more about the Athabascan people and their culture. This was an amazing experience to be able to help educate people from all over the interior of Alaska about a pressing public health issue while also connecting with members of communities I would be working with in the next few months."
Bobbi, Environmental Health Science Major
East Central University
Internship Location: Berkeley County Health Department, Martinsburg, West Virginia
Responsibilities: Bobbi's greatest responsibility at her host health department was performing animal encounter investigations. She obtained skills in public relations and infectious disease surveillance from relaying quarantine information and rabies education to animal owners and bite victims. Bobbi also had opportunities to participate in meetings in other jurisdictions across West Virginia on current events like Zika and water quality warnings. For her independent project, Bobbi worked with another intern to capture and test mosquitoes in the region for arboviruses such as West Nile encephalitis.
In Her Own Words: “By observing the sanitarians in their occupational duties, I came to the realization that you never have the same day twice when delivering environmental services. My mentor was instrumental in providing an assortment of opportunities to help me better understand the role of public health departments and the impact they have on the community. The outstanding support I received from NEHA and the CDC throughout my internship are reasons why I would absolutely recommend this program to others."
Stephany, Environmental and Public Health Major
University of Findlay
Internship Location: New Mexico Environmental Health Bureau, Farmington, New Mexico
Responsibilities: During her internship, Stephany had the unique opportunity to gain firsthand experience in emergency response. In August 2015, the Gold King Mine spill environmental disaster occurred and Stephany was part of the first-responder team that protected residents living close to the contaminated Animas River. Stephany collected, tested and organized data from well-water samples on a team that included members of U.S. EPA, private contractors, local and state health departments and the county Sheriff’s Office. She was also the front woman to the public during the collection process on residential property.
In Her Own Words: “There are many aspects I value from this entire experience, one being the interaction I witnessed between local, state and federal agencies. We all needed each other and we came to the table to help the residents of New Mexico. Residents were scared and angry, but there was no time for blaming and finger pointing; we all worked together as one agency.”
Kyle, Environmental Health Major, Old Dominion University
Internship Location: Peninsula Health Department, Newport News, Virginia
Responsibilities: Kyle was responsible for restaurant, pool, marina, well, and hotel/motel inspections; complaint response; rabies control and beach water monitoring. Kyle discovered that EH professionals serve a vital and sometimes life-saving role in protecting residents from potential foodborne illnesses associated with restaurant violations and the hazards of rabid animals.
In His Own Words: "It was very rewarding to put the knowledge learned in classes to real time application. I found myself in some of the most astounding scenarios, leading me to think that this job could provide a lifetime of entertainment and moral satisfaction. I can’t wait to see where my future in environmental health takes me."