Meet #CrusaderIntern Erin Kinney ’20, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Name: Erin Kinney

Class Year: 2020

Position: Intern/ Epidemiology Workforce Branch on the Student Programs Team

Organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


1. Tell us about where you interned over the summer and the kind of work you are doing. 

I interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia this past summer. I worked within the Epidemiology Workforce Branch on the Student Programs Team. I helped evaluate and improve their selection rubric for the Science Ambassadors Program through my own independent research project. I wrote an abstract and presented my findings to CDC scientists and leaders including the division chief. This program aimed to inspire and educate middle and high school teachers from around the country in public health topics to create new lesson plans for their students in hopes of carving a career path for future public health professionals.

2. Give us an example of how you have applied your academic learnings to your internship? 

From what I have learned from all of my STEM courses at Holy Cross, I was able to apply my understanding of the scientific method to my research project. Having this understanding of how to conduct my own research was essential in my success as a student intern in creating a professional list of new guidelines for the program to follow in the future. My experience with excel and creating graphics to present data were also vital skills I needed to succeed during my time spent at the CDC.

3. What has surprised you about being an intern?  

The amount of independence I was granted as a summer intern surprised me. I was able to take my project in many different directions, and it was solely up to me to decide how to proceed and what the best way to present my findings were.

4. How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans / goals?  

This experience opened my eyes to the complexities of public health on both a national and global scale. I realized my desire to contribute to public health in my future career whether that be through research, policy, or clinical practices. The CDC has influence in a variety of different fields from biosecurity to foreign aid such as fighting Ebola in the DOC. Since my time spent at the CDC this past summer, my goals of becoming a practicing physician have been solidified and placed into a new context surrounding the goals of public health.

5. Any internship advice to pass on to other Holy Cross students?  

My advice to other Holy Cross students is to being extremely open-minded during this process and to not be discouraged. I have never been to Georgia, let alone the South, until this past summer, and I am so glad I chose to take the leap of faith and experience a new city along with my new internship. Also, apply for the crusader internship fund because this made it possible for me to accept an unpaid position and gain valuable work experience.