Getting Ready for My Internship with TPCHD
By Hannah H.
This summer, I will be interning at the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department as an Environmental Health Technician. I will work within the Communicable Disease Division as part of their Food and Community Safety program. I am one of three interns who will work there this summer, and together we will work under an Environmental Health Specialist. While most of our work will be done independently in our own designated field areas, we will go through training together and work as a team to ensure all our team’s summer goals are met.
I have two main projects outlined for the summer. My main project is conducting routine and follow-up inspections of water recreational facilities within Pierce County. During these inspections, I follow the rules and guidelines set by the Washington Administrative Code 246-260. This includes such codes for testing water quality and chemical levels, checking that all barriers are the correct height and ensuring all emergency and safety equipment is present and useable. By doing this, we ensure all public pools and spas are safe for public use. If they are not, we can work together to solve any issues and get them up to code. In addition to these inspections, I will also do mosquito trapping for the state health department West Nile Virus surveillance program. I will work with one of the other interns to set and pick up the traps weekly. We then fill out forms with details on the type of trap used and the number of mosquitos caught each week. These mosquitos are then identified and if the correct species, tested for West Nile Virus.
While these are my main projects for the summer, I will also have the opportunity to shadow in other departments and divisions. I am looking forward to this as it gives me an opportunity to explore more of my interests and get a better idea of the variety of work the health department does throughout Pierce County. Additionally, I am excited to make connections with my co-workers and learn more about myself, including my strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes within a professional environment. I am confident this internship will be a great learning opportunity and am looking forward to spending the summer with TPCHD!