Student Internships - Summer 2020


Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases

The following WGCVBD-affiliated summer student internships are currently available. The deadline to apply is March 26, 2020.


University of Arkansas-Monticello and Arkansas Department of Health Location: Little Rock, ArkansasDownload information and application packet  

Arkansas is home to several species of ticks. Arkansas also ranks among the top states in the United States for incidence for both Spotted Fever Rickettsias and Ehlichiosis. The distribution of these important zoonotic diseases overlaps with the distribution of the most common tick found attacking humans, companion animals, and wildlife in AR. The aggressive and ubiquitous Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum, dominates in most Arkansas landscapes and depending on habitat and season, tick population density is high. This tick transmits tularemia, STARI, and the agents responsible for ehrlichiosis. The American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, is another important vector in Arkansas, transmitting Rickettsia rickettsii and tularemia. There are also areas that support populations of Gulf Coast ticks, Amblyomma maculatum. The current extent of the distribution and density of other tick species and their associated pathogens is largely unknown.

The Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-borne Diseases is seeking a summer intern to support surveillance of ticks and tick-borne pathogens using tick drags and tick traps in various locations in Arkansas focusing primarily on Southeast Arkansas. Ticks will be identified, pooled by species and location, and sent to a supporting lab for pathogen identification. These data will be incorporated into the larger Arkansas Department of Health database. The selected intern will work with faculty from the University of Arkansas - Monticello and Arkansas Department of Health personnel at ADH headquarters in Little Rock. The recipient will receive training on surveillance and identification of ticks, tick biology, applied epidemiology, education and outreach, structure and operation of the Arkansas Department of Health, and how vector data is incorporated and used by public health authorities at the local and state level.

This is an 11-week, paid internship that offers hands-on experience in vector-borne disease public health practice. The selected candidate will be compensated at $11/hr, plus a $700 monthly housing stipend.

Interested students can send a completed application and CV to Caroline Weldon (caweldon@utmb.edu) by March 26, 2020.


Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases and Texas Department of State Health Services Location: Austin, TexasDownload information and application packet  

The CDC Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease is seeking applications for a student intern to work at the Arbovirus-Entomology Laboratory at the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin, TX.

The primary objective of the Arbovirus-Entomology Laboratory is to coordinate mosquito surveillance efforts throughout Texas in order to detect the presence of arboviruses in mosquito populations prior to the development of human disease. Mosquito specimens are collected by various city and county health departments and submitted to the Laboratory for species identification and arbovirus testing. Testing is conducted using multiplex real-time RT-PCR assays, which target human pathogens of public health importance in Texas: West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, Eastern and Western equine encephalitis, Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses. In addition to molecular testing, cell culture-based surveillance testing is conducted on a proportion (~20%) of submitted mosquitoes in order to screen for newly emerging arboviruses. When an arbovirus-positive mosquito pool is detected, laboratory personnel notify the agency that submitted the specimens so that appropriate mosquito control measures can be initiated based on the virus detected. In addition, the Arbovirus-Entomology Laboratory provides insecticide resistance testing services to local jurisdictions that are experiencing mosquito control failure.

This internship will provide students the opportunity to experience working in a state public health laboratory. Daily activities will include assisting with mosquito check-in, data entry, mosquito identification, molecular testing, mosquito colony maintenance, and insecticide resistance testing. Students will gain laboratory and epidemiology experience.

This is an 11-week, paid internship that offers hands-on experience in vector-borne disease public health practice. The selected candidate will be compensated at $11/hr, plus a $700 monthly housing stipend.

Interested students can send a completed application and CV to Caroline Weldon (caweldon@utmb.edu) by March 26, 2020.


Harris County Public Health Department and Mosquito and Vector Control Division Location: Houston, TexasDownload information and application packet  

The CDC Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Disease and Harris County Public Health Department, Mosquito and Vector Control Division is offering an interdisciplinary internship in which a selected intern will rotate through the Alternative Mosquito Control and Applied Research (AMCAR) Branch, the Test and Evaluation Section (TES), and the Technical Operations Branch in Vector Surveillance. The student will participate in daily activities from the mentioned sections of MCVD in order to gain practical knowledge in diverse tracts of vector-focused public health.

Together, these projects will provide experience in insecticide resistance monitoring, environmental surveillance in the mosquito, avian, tick and kissing bug populations, and practical laboratory experience of applied research activities. The selected candidate will also be involved in community health practice component of the MCVD to better understand the inner workings of an Integrated Vector Management Program.

This is an 11-week, paid internship that offers hands-on experience in vector-borne disease public health practice. The selected candidate will be compensated at $11/hr, plus a $700 monthly housing stipend.

Interested students can send a completed application and CV to Caroline Weldon (caweldon@utmb.edu) by March 26, 2020.


Oklahoma City County Health Department and Southern Nazarene University Location: Oklahoma City, OklahomaDownload information and application packet  

The CDC Western Gulf of Excellence for Vector-Borne disease is seeking applications for a student intern to work on a joint arboviral surveillance program between the Oklahoma City County Health Department (OCCHD) and Southern Nazarene University (SNU). The purpose of the Vector-Borne Disease Monitoring and Prevention program is to count and test vector mosquitoes for the presence of arboviruses. The program also focuses on mosquito control with larvicide applications, habitat remediations, and community education. OCCHD coordinates mosquito trapping efforts with several municipalities across the county and it is responsible for species identification and arboviral screening. This internship will provide students the opportunity to experience working in a county public health department and in a university research laboratory. Daily activities will include assisting with mosquito check-in, data entry, mosquito identification, molecular testing, and DNA sequencing.

The selected student will also be expected to participate in ongoing community outreach events organized by SNU and OCCHD. The “GO OK” project works to collect mosquito data using the Mosquito Habitat Mapper feature of NASA’s GLOBE Observer mobile app. This ongoing pioneer work provides valuable observations of mosquito habitats in Oklahoma to the GLOBE Program. The geospatial dataset will be used to determine whether the presence of mosquito vectors is associated with environmental conditions in the surrounding landscape. Students will gain epidemiology experience and engage in community outreach activities through this program.

This is an 11-week, paid internship that offers hands-on experience in vector-borne disease public health practice. The selected candidate will be compensated at $11/hr, plus a $700 monthly housing stipend.

Interested students can send a completed application and CV to Caroline Weldon (caweldon@utmb.edu) by March 26, 2020.


Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma City County Health Department Location: Oklahoma City, OklahomaDownload information and application packet  

Tick-borne disease is an important issue in the southern Great Plains. In Oklahoma, basic knowledge is known regarding distribution of tick species and some of the major tick-transmitted pathogens that cause disease in humans and animals. However, there is a gap in the knowledge regarding tick and tick-borne pathogen risk in landscapes undergoing significant changes around urban areas.

The Western Gulf Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases is seeking an intern to learn about public health in an actively engaged setting, get involved in tick-borne education initiatives, visit various stakeholders engaged in teaching and coordinating activities as well as learning about the organization of local to state public health work (“community of practice”). The selected intern will be to exposed to the depth of public health and how it works to engage in the health of populations in an urban setting.

The second portion of the internship will take place with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma University under specific activities involving bi-weekly tick surveillance of a newly developed park (Scissortail) as well as the River Trail system in downtown OKC. The intern will gain experience in surveillance techniques including collection, processing, and identification of ticks. The intern will learn how data derived from routine vector surveillance factors into local and national aspects of public health.

The selected candidate will gain experience in practical field-based skills, some data management skills, and a broader idea of how it fits into public health at a local and national level.

This is an 11-week, paid internship that offers hands-on experience in vector-borne disease public health practice. The selected candidate will be compensated at $11/hr, plus a $700 monthly housing stipend.

Interested students can send a completed application and CV to Caroline Weldon (caweldon@utmb.edu) by March 26, 2020.