Tag Archives: 2019

Angela: How I Got My Internship

How I Got My Internship

By Angela Z.

When I was searching for internships, I relied heavily on the weekly e-mails that contained information on internship, job, and department updates. Hayley sent out an e-mail one week with an invitation to WA Department of Labor & Industries (LNI) information session and interview. At first I was hesitant to sign up due to a conflicting class, but I was able to sign up for the interview without attending the information session. I knew this put me at a bit of a disadvantage against my colleagues, so before my interview I poked around on the LNI website to learn more about the organization. The occupational health and safety classes at the UW had also mentioned LNI so I felt that I had some general background information about the organization as a whole.

During the interview, I was surprised at how conversational it was. I was asked none of the questions that I had prepared for and although I had a shaky answer to, “what do you know about industrial hygiene,” we finished the interview on an open dialogue about worker safety and our personal stories related to the subject. I was able to express how much I learned from and enjoyed the safety classes at UW, which is one side of compliance safety and health.

One piece of advice I have for future students is to sign up for any opportunity that comes up. Especially the employer visits because you have a better chance at getting to know the organization and the staff on a more personal level. This also includes the site visit field trips that are hosted by the department because it is also a good chance to network and inquire about internship opportunities. It is also generally important to keep an open mind and apply for any opportunity that sounds interesting to you!

How I Got My Internship by Brisia P.

How I Got My Internship

By Brisia P.

Unlike most of my classmates, I did not have an internship ready for the summer by
spring quarter, and not for lack of trying. I began applying to internships at the beginning of 2018, hoping to secure an internship between my junior and senior year. I had a few interviews that did not pan out. I stopped applying in Spring 2018 and began again in Autumn. Flash forward, it is April of 2019, I am supposed to be graduating, and still had no idea where I would be in Summer. It was not until June 5th that I was finally offered an internship.
For me, managing the job search was difficult, it was discouraging and made me believe that no one wanted me. I exhausted all my resources, receiving 15 emails a day from 5 different job sites, including Indeed, Glassdoor, Neuvoo, Careerbuilder, etc. The internship I decided to take, I found on Portal (DEOHS website). The entire search was less than ideal and not nearly what I expected.
However, in my struggle to find an internship, I gained a lot of experience: I am less afraid of
first interviews, I can write a cover letter in a timely manner, I can tailor my resume as needed,
and I appreciate my internship opportunity more.
To future students, my internship search was not the common experience shared by most students. Many will find an internship they enjoy and not have to worry. However, for the
few unlucky souls, like me, this can be extremely stressful and scary. I urge you to start early
and continue to apply even if it seems nothing is working. Another tip is to seek help, let people
know you are looking for an internship, and cold email people in a place you would like to work. Also, look to Hayley and Tania for assistance, they are there for a reason. Ultimately, for me, things worked out really well, but Brisia from three months ago wouldn’t have thought so. Getting an internship, like most anything in life, is not easy and requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

Justine’s NEPHIP Internship

Justine’s NEPHIP Internship

By Justine M.

This summer I have been interning with the environmental health team at the Transylvania Public Health department in Brevard, NC.

My work there was diverse and fulfilling, ranging from helping create public education materials and programs, to helping manage a transition towards a new environmental monitoring IT program. Being in a community like Brevard allowed me to explore a wide range of environmental and public health programs. In addition to working with the Environmental Health team, I had the opportunity to shadow the epidemiology and disaster preparedness teams. It was insightful to see firsthand how all these departments interact and work together to promote public health. Although our coursework in DEOHS definitely emphasizes the different branches that contribute to and build-off of environmental health, it was eye-opening to see them all in one building, tackling health issues within the community.

DEOHS student and Transylvania Public Health intern Justine, doing vector-borne illness education and public outreach at a community festival.

One of the most rewarding parts of this program was being able to work in a location where the most pertinent environmental health issues weren’t necessarily always the same as on the west coast. With a different environment come different environmental health hazards.

Some of my favorite experiences included getting fitted for N95 masks, going to county events where our team interacted with community members, shadowing establishment inspections,  and learning about and identifying mosquito species in the laboratory.

In my eyes, the most important part of this internship program is the relationships you establish with the communities you represent, the team members you work with, and the mentors you shadow.

My Internship at the Department of Labor & Industries

My Internship at the Department of Labor & Industries

By Francis K.

I am currently interning with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries hygiene compliance team in Region 3 (Pierce, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam Counties). My day to day activities include inspecting regional workplaces, scheduling interviews with employees, and creating sampling plans that may assist with inspections. For example, if we need to do noise exposure monitoring I have to know what time the employers’ work shift starts so I can make sure our noise dosimeters are calibrated and fully charged.

Francis calibrates a 3M Edge EG5 Noise dosimeter for future noise sampling

The most important skill needed in this workplace is being able to communicate clearly and effectively all while maintaining composure and being professional. We routinely work with employers that can be hostile, which is understandable as they can incur serious fines. I always tell the employer that the compliance teams aren’t out to get them, but we are only there to make sure that the employer is running a business that is safe and effective.

The support system here at Labor and Industries is amazing. In my office alone you are combining 90+ years of experience between five employees.

It is important when you first get into an internship to make as many connections as possible. This includes reaching out to other sections, and finding somebody you can consult with in case a question arises. It is also important to find a mentor who will help guide you through your internship, and can give you criticism on what you need to work on and what you are doing as an intern to make the most out of your experience.

Overall, I would recommend interning at L&I to any Environmental Health undergraduate wanting to learn more about industrial hygiene and the Washington Administrative Codes that  business owners have to abide by.

All About my NEPHIP Internship

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.

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.

Meet Our Interns: Scyler L.

I am doing my internship at the Environmental Health and Safety department at UW. I am mentored by a lab compliance specialist, and I will be surveying 500+ labs in 12 weeks. Going into the internship, I had very little prior experience in doing independent projects. Therefore, one thing I want to take away from the internship is how to manage my time, while doing everything to the best of my ability (i.e. balancing between quality and quantity).

12 weeks is such a short time frame, and so I will have to really plan out what I am doing. I will be compiling informations from two different online databases, and putting together schedules so I can email individual lab Principal Investigators (PIs) and chemical hygiene officers (CHOs). Then, I will work on looking for items to put in the gift bags that I will bring for my visit. Following that, I will visit the labs, and spend time on checking their safety signs, asking them questions about the new tool developed (labRAT: risk assessment tool), and explaining to them a contest that is going to take place in December. I will then enter the data collected in an excel sheet. Personally I think planning is a really important skill in my internship, being able to plan out everything and not leave anything out is critical yet challenging for me. Another thing I will remind myself during the lab visits is the 20 minutes may be a very short time in my 12 weeks of internship, but it might be the only time the PI and CHO are going to see me, so whatever I do will have a huge impact on them.

How I Got My Internship by Mariah

Before applying to my internships, I first had multiple people look over my documents I was submitting, mainly my resume and cover letter. I first went to my friends, then my parents, and Hayley to review and help clean up my documents. This really helped my application process.

I started my internship search in September, applying to many positions. I believe I applied to 8 in total. I ended up hearing back from four, two saying I did not get the position and two inviting me for interviews that eventually turned into offers. The internship that I am currently at, Ramboll Environ, actually was an internship for full time winter quarter. I learned that during my interview, and I mentioned to them that I would be willing to work part time during the school year then full time during the summer. They seemed to like that idea, and within two days they contacted me again for a follow up interview for the part time position. The following week I was contacted again saying I got the position, then a month later was given a contract to start part time spring quarter and full time in the summer.

One tip I would give to future students is to start applying early. Many companies take a while to hear back from, but it is nice to get your applications out of the way before midterms or finals take up a lot of your time. Another tip I would give is to apply to many positions and take any opportunity you can get to interview. I didn’t hear back from half of the places I applied to and got rejected from two more. Out of the two interviews I was offered, I decided to take both, as I wanted more interview practice. Interviewing with two organizations helped lessen the pressure and anxiety, and I liked the practice and opportunity of being interviewed by a large company.

How I Got My Internship by Sierra

Managing a job search was different than I thought in the sense that I found many different jobs but I was spent a lot of my time going through job descriptions to make sure that I was qualified. To stay organized, I created a spreadsheet to record when I applied and all of the important details that I didn’t want to forget. Doing this made managing my internship search easier.

The resources that I used were indeed.com and the list of internships on the department’s private website. These two places were where I did the majority of my internship searching. The weekly emails with current internship openings were very helpful as well. I ultimately found my internship from an email that Hayley, the Internship Manager, sent out with the attached forms to fill out for the position.

I didn’t expect to apply to as many internships as I eventually did. Some places I never heard back from, while others were very helpful in giving information about when I would hear back with their decisions. Doing a phone interview was not how I expected. They were very quick and mostly asked the same questions, as well as questions specific to the internship. One question that I would get very often was asking about how my course work in school was preparing me to do the duties that were outlined in the job description. Before each phone interview, I would look over their application description and qualifications. I would also make sure I was familiarized with the objectives of the company as a whole and their mission. I would have both in front of me while I was doing the interview, along with some possible question answers, just in case my mind drew a blank while on the phone. I would say a good tip is to try and take your time because I would get nervous and start talking quickly. To slow myself down or if I needed more time to think of an answer to a question, I would ask them to repeat their question or I would pause and take a deep breath to refocus my mind.

For future students, some things that may be helpful to know are to start applying earlier and know that there are many different internships out there and they will all become available at different times. I recommend going through your job searching resources regularly so that you don’t miss out on good opportunities because some hire interns quickly. I would highly recommend keeping a spreadsheet of the different places that you are intending to apply to and ones that you have already applied to.

Sierra observes a sewage system on a newly built single-family residence.

Overall, I had a positive experience with my internship search, and it prepared me for future searches and helped build my knowledge on what to expect with job interviews and application processes.