My Internship at Snohomish Health District
By Vy. N
During the summer, I am doing my internship at Snohomish health District. My intern consists of two parts: program shadowing and projects. For program shadowing, I will go out to the field with environmental health specialists and gain exposure to a variety of environmental and public issues. Field activities include routine inspections, on-site consultations, and complaint follow-ups. For the project, I will work alongside the Childcare Outreach and Safety Environment teams to develop a STARS training class for childhood educators, parents, and care givers about Air Quality at childcare facilities. The Air Quality project will be focused on Outdoor Air Pollution, as Washington state experienced many wildfires last summer. Wildfire smoke substantially impacts children’s health since they are more vulnerable to air pollution. For the other project, I will research and update the environmental health components of Health and Safety Assessment in Childcare setting, which has been outdated for a long time.
I applied for this internship around late April. Snohomish Health District had two internship positions this summer, one in their food safety program and another one under childcare outreach. I thought the childcare outreach internship was a good fit for my experience working in childcare centers and the classes I’ve taken in children disparity. They called me for a phone interview the day after I applied. My interview was about 15 – 20 minutes, with most questions about my background education and my familiarity with childcare settings. I was offered the internship right after the interview!
The Environmental Health program at Snohomish Health District consists of three main divisions: food safety, land use, and environmental safety. The childcare outreach program has their own team but is under the supervision of environmental safety division and is also closely related to food safety. This is a government organization; I can see how a lot of WACs codes and state environmental/public health policies are applied in practical applications.
On my first day of as an intern, I was introduced to all the employees at the Health District. The majority of employees here are UW alumni who graduated with Environmental Health Degrees. One of my most favorite part of my internship is that I get to travel a lot of places and observe how EH specialists interact with people and handle tough situations. I can observe EH specialists step by step as they do their inspections and communicate with operators to establish trust and share information. They told me their goal is trying to educate people about safety and give operators different options to correct their violations. They also give me thorough explanations for each activity. Everyone is very friendly to me, and through their shared experience, I can see their passion for environmental health and helping people. I am excited to see how knowledge about environmental health is applied into practice!