National Environmental Public Health Internship Program (NEPHIP)
Internship Students FY17 NEPHIP
The student application deadline for 2018 coming soon
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.
Astha, Science in Environmental Safety and Health Management Major
Internship Location: Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks, Alaska
Responsibilities: The Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska provides many environmental health services to local community including the promotion of healthy initiatives amongst Native American Tribes. Astha environmental health internship experience was like no others. Once a week she had the opportunity to fly with an EHS around Alaska, providing rabies vaccines to dogs and using the recorded information to establish a database of vaccinated dogs. She also helped the TCC-OEH with surveying drinking water and village health clinics, along with creating a communication fire plan, a presentation for Head Start parents about air quality issues, landfill site visits, and assisted with brownfield site inspections.
In her own words: “this internship gave me ways to explore my career and dig deeply into my interest which is why after this internship I aspire more to be indulge in public health than any other field. For this I, must thank National Environmental Health Association for giving me this life changing opportunity and Tanana Chiefs Conference-Office of Environmental Health for being the perfect Host Health Department.”
Kaitlyn, Environmental Health Science Major
Internship Location: Kittitas County Public Health Department, Ellensburg, Washington
Responisbilities: During her internship, Kaitlyn focused on Kittitas County air quality issues. The US Environmental Protection Agency considers Kittitas County as a potential non-attainment area for fine particles. Prior to Kaitlyn’s arrival the county entered the EPA’s PM Advance Program; developing a 5 year Path Forward Plan preventing non-attainment status. As part of her internship Kaitlyn focused on two of the PM 2.5 control measure, which included community education outreach and the development of an air quality and PM 2.5 curriculum to be used in the local schools. Kaitlyn assisted in other programs within the division of environmental health to include food safety, drinking water, camps and park permitting, solid waste, onsite sewage, pool and spas, and water banking.
In her own words: “Through this internship and working with local government I learned a lot about regulator work and government programs and protocol. I was able to get real world work experience in the field of environmental public health at a local government level. I was exposed to the benefits and challenges of working with a local environmental health agency, and through this I was able to confirm that this was the career path I want to take.”
Kellyn, Public Health Major
Internship Location: East Shore District Health Department, New Haven, Connecticut
Responsibilities: On Tuesday of every week, Kellyn would support the health sanitarians at the East Shore District Health Department with beach bathing water samples of all the local beaches in the area. These sample once reported by the lab would be entered into a database that monitors conditions at the local beaches. In addition to beach monitoring, Kellyn sampled shellfish from the local area and reported to the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Aquaculture in East Haven as a project to open recreational fishing of shellfish in the area. One of Kellyn’s main internship projects was working on the pump out boat program. The program was the construction of a solar/electric powered pump out boat.
In her own words: “Overall, I feel I learned an extensive amount and have a better comprehensive understanding of environmental health and where I will fit in the future. I enjoyed myself and greatly appreciate the exceptional staff that I worked with. I look forward to using my experience in subsequent time and to see how North Carolina and Connecticut differ in health code policies and law.”
Marisa, Community and Environmental Health
Internship Location: Detroit Health Department, Detroit, Michigan
Responsibilities: Throughout her internship, Marisa worked in various areas within the environmental health department at DHD. She assisted in food safety inspections from large and hectic establishment such as Camerica Park during a Tigers baseball game to smaller ones like Starbucks. She was brought in to participate in new food establishment plan review, which is an important component of restaurant food safety. In addition to food safety, Marisa observed pool inspections, a medical marijuana dispensary and worked with the emergency preparedness department in various areas to include point of dispensing (POD) and writing communication protocols for an event. Marisa was given the opportunity to sit in an emergency preparedness and bio-watch meeting conducted by the Detroit Department of Homeland Security. Her project for the internship consisted of writing a communications notification protocol for the emergency preparedness department.
In her own words: “This internship was a valuable experience that will help further my career in the future. I learned about inspection procedures and the different types of food code violations through restaurant and plan review inspections. I was also able to learn a lot of information about communication procedures and risk communication through the process of writing a protocol with the emergency preparedness department, and I learned the proper formatting for writing protocols in a health department. I was able to take what I know from my classes in environmental health and apply it to a practice in the field that is not possible to receive just from taking classes.”
Caitlin, Environmental Health Major
Internship Location: Tennessee Department of Health, Nashville, Tennessee
Responsibilities: At the Tennessee State Department of Health, Caitlin worked closely with two CDC funded groups; the Environmental Health Specialist Networks (EHS-Net) and Food and Safe Water for Community Health (SafeWATCH). Caitlin helped the SafeWATCH group test drinking water facilities and private spring water for potentially Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB). The test monitored waters state-wide for toxigenic cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins via LC/MS Microcystins Cylindrospermopsin, Saxitoxin, and Anatoxin-a. Her project for the internship was to develop an online survey that gathered feedback from local foodborne outbreak investigators about the CDC’s National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS). The survey was to assess knowledge gaps, identify training needs, and understand perceptions. Additionally, she assisted in the investigation of a possible foodborne disease outbreak, shadowed the Mid Cumberland Regional Office with the Summer County health department on pool inspection and even got to observe a consultation for tattoo parlor.
In her own words: “Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship. It exposed me to working at both the local and State level. It further cemented my idea of how wide the environmental health field can be. Also, at the Department of Health, along with other interns were exposed to all aspects of the public health field with various presentations from the various departments that make up the public health field. Finally, with the various field work experience I had; I can see myself working in either the local or State health department.”
Internship Students FY16 NEPHIP
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."