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Ericka Duncan Internship 2013


Ericka Duncan, BS in Health Studies ‘13, landed a prestigious internship last summer through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Undergraduate Public Health Summer Program (CUPS). She was a part of Project: IMHOTEP, one of the four internship programs associated with CUPS.

Project: IMHOTEP is an eleven week internship designed to increase the knowledge and skills of student trainees, and within that project, Duncan was assigned to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) where Duncan reviewed grant applications, worked with data, and conducted a comprehensive literature review.

“Dr. Rhodes and Dr. Dietz pushed my research abilities when they invited me to participate in the case study competition in spring 2012 along with Caitlin Clancy and Emily Schumacher, also EIU Health Studies alumna,” said Duncan. “The continuous support from Dr. Bates, Ms. Sego and especially Dr. Phillips pushed me to apply for “high end” internships such as Project IMHOTEP.”

Duncan won the Thomas J. Blocker Scholarship Award for her work with NIOSH and for her willingness to extend a helping hand to her peers. “I am always willing to help others, especially if I have an easier solution to solve a problem,” said Duncan. “I am very detailed with my work and take pride in understanding what my role is and how to accomplish not only the goals the Project: IMHOTEP and CUPS set for me, but also my personal goals of professional development.” Duncan built lasting relationships with her mentors, Dr. Viji Potula and Dr. Maria Lioce. Duncan also had the opportunity to work under the leadership of Dr. William “Bill” Jenkins, Epidemiologist at the Institute of African American Research and previous Supervisor Epidemiologist in the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention at CDC.

Duncan is now an AmeriCorps Volunteer with the Illinois Public Health Association and works at the University of Illinois at Chicago as a research assistant. “I’ve dedicated 2013 to gaining experience in public health and taking full advantage of all opportunities presented to me,” said Duncan. She plans to attend graduate school in fall 2014 after she has gained more experience in her field, helping her to narrow her interest within the field of Public Health.

The memorable moments, lessons learned, and experience gained from this internship will follow Duncan for the rest of her career. “I encourage all students to apply for any and every internship, externship, fellowship and job they find! This was my second year applying for Project IMHOTEP. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do and never take no for an answer!”