All About my NEPHIP Internship
Bu Suhani P.
This summer I will be interning for 10 weeks at the Portage County Health Department in Ravenna, Ohio through the National Environmental Public Health Internship Program (NEPHIP). There will be four projects I will work on: dry weather storm water testing, pool water testing, a mosquito control program, and a harmful algae bloom prevention program.
In order to conduct dry weather storm water testing, I first need background on the test. My trainer explained to me the purpose and procedures of dry weather testing and then I shadowed her for a few days. In the mornings, I did additional background research on the Internet about the significance of storm water testing. To perform this test, one must be meticulous, organized, and perceptive in order to read GIS maps, identify outfall points, measure water quality, and record data. To conduct pool water testing, one must have strong communication skills to introduce themself and explain to pool managers the tests. While testing pool water for chlorine, alkalinity, and pH, one must be meticulous and detailed. There is a particular methodology to follow when conducting pool water testing that has to be memorized and practice.
In my first week, I was able to oversee multiple pool inspections and conduct pool water testing. The first time I independently tested pool water, I made sure to ask my supervisor detailed questions to ensure I was appropriately conducting the test. Practicing and asking questions is the best way to learn. The mosquito control programs includes setting up mosquito traps, counting the mosquitos, tracking the number of mosquitos in each area, identifying areas of concern, and working with other members on implementing control measures. Because the mosquito control program is fairly new, there are many ways to make the program more efficient and effective. Having good critical thinking, problem solving skills, and creative ideas can enable one to enhance the program. Additionally, being meticulous, organized, and efficient will help one effectively run the program.
It is my job to create a harmful algae bloom prevention program. Because I currently am not very knowledgable on harmful algae blooms, I will likely need to do a lot of research and require a lot of support and guidance from the aqua team in the department. In order to create and implement the program, I will need to be proficient on the topic and organized and have critical thinking, analysis, and project management skills.