Throughout the past month, I have interned at NYU's College of Global Public Health under the direction of Dean Cheryl Healton and her staff. Simply put, I serve as a research agent - I peruse through new research into public health epidemics and aggregate my findings into bibliographies and presentations to be used by the dean.
Working at NYU GPH, though, is anything but simple. The intense work and entertaining moments, meshed together by a powerful community ambiance, have made my internship experience meaningful and memorable.
One of the most arduous components of my internship is the commute from Short Hills to NOHO. I report to work Monday-Thursday at 9:30 AM, and because the wonders of NJ Transit, Port Authority, and the MTA transport me 18 miles in 90 minutes, I wake up at 6:50 every morning to catch my initial train. I tend to find this more difficult than the average person, and find myself falling asleep on the train and the PATH.
Upon stopping by a Dunkin Donuts, checking into my office, and meeting with the Administrative Coordinator, though, I am alert and prepared to perform the day's project. Some are short term, such as compiling review articles about the relationship between obesity and cancer and creating a bibliography.
Other projects are multifaceted and time consuming, as they cover a broad range of topics and require synthesis and writing skills. The main project in which I am currently engaged involves researching six public health epidemics: smoking, opioid abuse, alcohol abuse, climate change, fast food consumption, and firearms abuse. My task is to compile and summarize articles regarding these topics that have appeared in the news since 2016. Using the summaries, I code for words and phrases that are prevalent in the articles and vernacular regarding this epidemics. These words and phrases and their different permutations become my search terms for articles in public health and medical databases, which I then compile into their own bibliographies, sorted by category. With both the colloquial news and formal research information, I am currently compiling a master presentation with my findings and addressing disparities between the two camps of research.
Working at a desk job in a cubicle is a fascinating experience in it of itself. I am very grateful that I am not performing grunt work or cleaning as an intern - rather, I am tasked with real assignments at a real desktop, just like the other adults in NYU GPH. The Administrative Coordinator has acquainted me with her office friends, giving me a few friendly and familiar faces among the other staff. The kitchen, stocked with a Keurig and other amenities, is conveniently located a few doors down from my cubicle.
I feel that my internship at NYU GPH has granted me the unique opportunity to contribute to research and the public health professional field in general in a meaningful fashion, even before I graduate from high school. I am excited to complete my presentation and to contribute to even more projects in between now and May. In addition, I am looking forward to furthering my knowledge of New York City and transitioning into young adulthood in the city environment.