How I Found My Out-of-State Internship
By Jamie E.
When I began to look at internships for over the summer, I made sure to look for opportunities that not only explored my area of interest within environmental health, but also were close to my home in Hawaii. Since leaving home to go to school on the mainland, I wanted to take the opportunity to become more familiar with the public health issues that are concerning communities in Hawaii, while also exploring my interest in environmental microbiology. After thinking of where to begin my search for Hawaii internships, I decided to try searching through the State of Hawaii Department of Health website.
As I was exploring through the website I was so excited to see that there was a State Laboratories Division (SLD) on the island of Oahu, and that there was an Environmental Microbiology section. Though I did not find internships listed, I emailed the supervisor of the Environmental Microbiology section inquiring if there were any undergraduate summer internships available. I followed my internship advisor’s advice and had also looked at other internships in Washington, but in the back of my mind I knew that if there was an internship at the SLD that it would be my first choice. I also knew that there was a slim chance of me having the opportunity to work specifically in my area of interest with communities back at home in Hawaii, but I still anxiously waited and hoped that there was a chance. When I received a reply email, I was thrilled and incredibly grateful to find out that the SLD was willing to take me on as an intern for the summer.
My advice to future environmental health interns is to not be afraid to reach out to organizations conducting work in your area of interest, even if it may seem that there are no internship opportunities available.
If I had not taken the initiative to ask about available internships, I would not have gained the abundance of knowledge and variety of experiences that I have had here at the SLD. I also would not have been able to work with such a kind and supportive group of people that I did work with at the lab. For these reasons and many more, I encourage future environmental health studies to take this risk, because it may lead to a truly unforgettable and enriching experience.