How will this experience help you in your job search and career?
I was originally drawn to working at the CDC because of my previous experience interning for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) during the summer of 2015. While there, I did a lot of work on the United States’ Ebola response, and I became committed to working at the nexus of global health and security. Working at the Center for Global Health at the CDC has introduced me to the technical elements of global health work, and allowed me to gain more experience working in the federal government. I hope to one day enter the civil service, and having this opportunity to work within the agency that drives the United States’ global health agenda has been invaluable. Many of the individuals I have met at the CDC are former Presidential Management Fellows (PMFs) and hearing about their experience with that program has been inspiring.
How does your internship sponsor or agency contribute to the mission of national security?
The CDC is at the forefront of responding to disease threats both within the United States and internationally. Today, a pathogen can travel around the world to major cities in as little as 36 hours. CDC experts in epidemiology, surveillance, informatics, laboratory systems, and other essential disciplines provide critical global health leadership to combat this threat. The GHSA was launched in February 2014 and established a multilateral and multi-sectoral approach for accelerating progress toward compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005) and strengthening global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats whether naturally occurring, deliberate, or accidental. Nearly 60 nations have joined the GHSA. Under GHSA, the United States assists 31 countries and the Caribbean Community, including $1 billion for 17 at-risk countries to strengthen global health security. As the technical lead for USG implementation of the GHSA, the CDC is responding to the national security challenge of health security by working with global partners and other actors across the U.S. government.
Have you changed as a result of this experience? If so, how?
In past internship experiences, much of my work was directed by my boss’s instructions and the immediate needs of the agency. Working on the policy team at the Center for Global Health, I have had ample opportunity to direct my own projects and prioritize my work. That’s not to say there aren’t matters that come through the office that need to be dealt with quickly (meeting briefs, talking points, the list goes on) but my boss has also encouraged me to develop long-term projects that deal with greater strategic goals of the office and Center at large. I have had to learn how to balance both the short-term and long-term work that is par for the course in a policymaking office such as this one, and I have appreciated the opportunity to develop my skills in this capacity as a member of the CDC policy team.