Meet Our Interns: Katie S.


4 Tips to Make Your Internship Unforgettable

By Katie S.

Katie at her internship at Public Health – Seattle & King County

Internships can feel slightly overwhelming. I came into my internship wanting an unforgettable experience, but I wasn’t quite sure how. When I started my internship, I was intimidated because I was entering a new environment with little experience and trying to immerse myself in a culture that I was unfamiliar with. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in the first days of an internship, but these tips helped me turn this into an unforgettable summer.

Tip 1: Find a Way to Put Your Own Passions into Your Internship

When I started this internship, my supervisor asked what I was interested in as it pertains to public health. I shared with her the things that interested me the most: climate change, emergency preparedness, and environmental health. I was lucky that my supervisor tried to incorporate my passions. If your mentor is open about the deliverables of your internship, try to find a way to incorporate things you are passionate about. I found that incorporating things that I love into my internship makes me go into work with more vigor and be more excited to see where the day will go.

Tip 2: Take Advantage of Opportunities to Socialize

Yes, you are in your internship to learn, but learning how to fit into the workplace environment is part of it. Not only will you get whatever the technical experience that is associated with your internship, but also develop the soft skills that are associated with it. Take the time to get to know your coworkers and spend time with them. If my coworkers go out to get coffee, I’ll go with them, no matter if I buy it or not. In addition to these skills, internships are also about building relationships.Taking the time to get to know your coworkers allows you to build that relationship so that you can start building your network and hopefully your references!

Tip 3: Work Hard, But Know Your Limits

Now, this may seem like a no brainer, but I feel like it has to be said. I am an avid believer that you get out what you put in. So, if you put effort into your internship, you’re probably going to have a greater experience than if you don’t. However, most of all, people notice when you put a lot of effort into something. It shows in the quality of work you put out and the attitudes you have approaching new projects. That being said, know your limits and what you can take on. If you have a full plate and you can’t fit extra tasks into your workload, just be honest. When someone overextends themselves, they can drop the ball on certain projects or do subpar work. It’s always a balancing act, which takes time and practice!

Tip 4: Have fun!

Sure, there are times when you need to put your head down and work, but internships, above all else, are learning experiences. If you stay positive and make work a fun place to be (while still being productive, of course), you will have a great time in your internship!

Meet our Interns: Xamantha C.

Starting My Internship

By Xamantha C.

Xamantha in front of the LA County Environmental Health Headquarters

My First Day

On June 14, 2017, I took my first step into LA County Environmental Health Headquarters. The office, at first, was as confusing as the Health Sciences library—a maze formed by endless cubicles and different rooms instead of winding hallways and classrooms. Overwhelmed by the amount of programs kept behind the large amount of cubicles, I didn’t know where to start when I was asked what programs I would be interested in shadowing, but I was excited!

My excitement stemmed from the opportunity to use my Environmental Health education outside of the classroom and to learn from the workforce. I was overjoyed to know that I would have the opportunity to shadow people from different programs. The idea was exciting yet nerve-wracking. What if I don’t actually like the programs I’m interested in? But that’s the beauty of it I guess. This internship will allow me to discover what I like and what I don’t like about Environmental Health because even as an incoming senior, I only had an idea. Now I would have the opportunity to explore my career goals and interests in a hands-on environment.

Internships give us the opportunity for us to find our niche within Environmental Health. If unsure of what you actually want to do within this vast field, internships that will expose you to the multiple areas of Environmental Health can be your first step on your journey to what you want to do in the future.

An Informational Interview

Though I was introduced to many people on my first day, there was one that really stood out to me. His name is R. On my first day, I had to go to HR to pick up my badge. I felt very grateful that R volunteered his time to drive me to Human Resources. I’m glad he did! His passion and excitement resonated with me. One of the many interesting things we talked about were our individual journeys into the field of Environmental Health. Like many people I know, R got into Environmental Health by accident/by coincidence. He started out as Pre-Pharm but ended up not finishing that route because of unforeseen circumstances. After some time, he was introduced to a job as a part of the Environmental Health Strike team, one of the first and only Environmental Health teams in the nation tasked to respond to Environmental Health emergencies and disasters! He came into it not knowing much about the field but after his training and after a few months of working, he realized he loved it. He said that if he could go back and start off in this field, he would.

His story further solidified that my choice to stay with Environmental Health was a great one. When I was a sophomore, I was searching for a major that would lead me not just to jobs, but to opportunities where I can actually love what I do. If there are people who can come into this field without prior knowledge and end up loving what they do, then I am in the right place. Environmental Health is an important field, and we should all be proud that we are a part of it! It is our job as future professionals in Environmental Health to advocate for this field and show its significance. Even as students, we must increase the field’s visibility so that in the future, people will have more understanding of and access to Environmental Health professions.

Meet Our Interns: Jueun

How Did You Prepare For Internship Interviews?

Intern: Jueun O.

In front of my new desk at WA L&I

Because English is my second language, the thought of an interview was very frightening and intimidating to me. The day before my interview I could not sleep at all and thought about ways to get out of my situation. Even up to the day of the interview, I felt very reluctant to open the door and enter the interview room out of fear. After two previous interviews at other organizations, I was very discouraged and worried that I would not be capable of fulfilling my internship. The Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences’s Internship and Career Services Manager, Hayley, supported me by encouraging me to continue applying and interviewing for internships. She helped me tremendously by giving me a few commonly asked questions and practicing my answers with me. I went to my third interview thinking it was my last opportunity and was even more nervous than before my previous interviews. However, the interview went on more positively than my previous interviews and I knew my practice helped! John, the Compliance Manager for the Department of Labor and Industries told me I could start my internship the following Monday. I was overcome with shock and happiness and (not trying to be dramatic but) I felt as if my dream came true.

What I want future environmental health students to learn from my experience is to not hesitate to ask your advisor for help because they are always excited to help you in any way they can.

I am going to participate in an internship program for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) industrial Hygiene for 10 weeks. I will assist Industrial Hygienists and watch what they do during opening and closing conferences, employee interviews, and sampling, identification, and evaluation of occupational hazards. I am looking forward to the many things I will learn and experience during my internship and experience at the work field.

Meet our 2017 Summer Interns!

Welcome to the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences’s Internship blog! Over the next few weeks we will feature several students within DEOHS who are completing internships in the field.

How Did You Get Your Internship?

Intern: Annika J.

Helping out one of my supervisors at UW Earth Day

This is actually quite a funny story.

I applied to a position as a Project Assistant at the UW Sustainability office in early Fall 2016. After a great interview, I was not selected for this position after another candidate outweighed me with their skills and experience. I personally thought I connected with my interviewer and thought the interview went very well, so I was disappointed to learn I did not get the job. After my interviewer told me that the position had been offered to another candidate, she told me to contact her in the future for any available position in her office.

Time went by and I started applying to different internships to fulfill my graduation requirement for my degree. I applied to about 2 internships a week and had some interview offers, but was looking for the right opportunity where I could fulfill my internship requirement at an organization that met my interests.

As summer approached, I started to get nervous. I wanted to have an internship settled before summer and I did not have any leads. I started to think about other places and ways I could find an internship. I remembered the UW Sustainability office and I decided to shoot an email to my interviewer from fall. Even if she turned me down for a position in her office the first round, I was not going to let my pride take away an opportunity that may lead to an internship.

I sent her a message and I patiently waited for her response.

She emailed me back the next day and she told me that she needed an Environmental Health Intern for her office. From my past interview with her, she said I was a perfect candidate for her intern position. So, I was selected for this exciting opportunity to be a UW Sustainability and Environmental Health Intern.

Completion of one part of the Dashboard Project for Green House Gas Health effects

This opportunity has taught me “don’t give up” and to “always stay persistent.” I may have been rejected once, but it didn’t mean that the interviewer didn’t like me as a candidate. The position I have now is actually a better fit for me than the position that I had applied for in early fall. Always email your supervisors for a follow up and do not be discouraged if you don’t get a position on the first round.

For future Environmental Health Undergraduate students, I strongly recommend you apply to as many positions as you can but also make sure that you will enjoy the internship as well. This internship is not only a graduation credit but it is also an opportunity for you to really explore your future career.