Getting Ready for My NEPHIP Internship

Getting Ready for My NEPHIP Internship

By Juliet L.

My internship will be in Fairbanks, Alaska, at the Department of Environmental Conservation. I will mainly be working in the Food Safety and Sanitation program.  My work will include filing and distributing temporary food permits, as well as taking phone calls and answering questions for people who call in to the office. Temporary food permits are licenses that allow food vendors to sell to the public with more leniency than a regular permit (for example: distributors don’t need a food handlers card or a permanent establishment). These permits are used for booth-events, like fairs or festivals. I will also work on numerous projects related to the food safety field, like updating the priority list for establishment inspections. Finally, I will assist other departments for site inspections sites like wastewater or drinking water.

I am excited to learn how the environmental health field differs in an area I am not very familiar with. Alaska has a lot of spread out communities that are very hard to access and may be far from any major business hub. These characteristics play a large part in how the food safety office deals with inspection frequencies and risk assessments. I have learned a lot about food safety in the context of a major city like Seattle, so much of the information about Alaskan communities will be new to me. I am a little nervous about what type of work awaits me. I am remaining optimistic, however, and know that each task I am assigned as a learning experience. Everything I learn over these 10 weeks can only serve to help me once I go out into the work force.

A new house being built along the Chena River, outside of Fairbanks. This was during a wastewater inspection to determine that the septic tank/leach field system was set up properly. The T-setup of pipes at the bottom of the picture is set up incorrectly.

I got my internship through the National Environmental Health Association. I heard about it from a previous intern. She had told me how they have an internship program that you can apply to each summer. I started visiting Hayley to have her look over my resume and cover letter, as well as discuss essay prompts. Luckily, all the application materials were written, and there was no interview, which I felt made the application process feel easier compared to other internships.

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