Alexa: About My Internship with PHSKC

About My Internship with Public Health Seattle King County

By Alexa Y.

This summer I am working as an intern for Public Health Seattle King County in the Environmental Health division. My main task includes mosquito surveillance for West Nile Virus, which entails trapping mosquitos, sorting them by the vectors that carry the disease and then shipping them to the Washington State Department Of Health in Tumwater to be PCR tested. Other tasks include helping the Hazardous Waste Management team with research on a variety of community focused projects and outreach events to best maximize efficiency and target different needs of varying communities in King County. This internship allowed me to meet and learn from so many different people working in the public health world as well as discover where my interests lie and what I am passionate about. I have been able to meet people doing work in equity and social justice and see real applications and projects instead of just hearing about it in class. This gave me perspective on how much work this work is, the impact it has and the pushback it can receive. This internship  encouraged and nudged me to expand outside my comfort zone in terms of networking and asking questions, but I have become a more curious person and student because of it.

Alexa compiling Culex pipiens mosquitos, a vector of West Nile Virus, into a vile containing RNA protecting solution in the Public Health Labs in Shoreline.

Through the search for this internship I’ve learned that starting earlier is better. This was the last internship I applied to, one that opened late, and I was lucky to receive the position. It was a great introduction to what searching for a real job might look like and how to most effectively portray the skills I have. If I were to redo the search, I would try to apply to a few more than I did, and try to use resources earlier such as the Environmental Health student portal.

My advice for students looking for internships is to start earlier than you think you need to, but don’t panic if you do not obtain a position right away!

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