Joseph O’Brien recently completed an internship in the OSU Extension office in Umatilla County.
I would like to start by saying I’m very grateful and appreciative to have had the opportunity to work as a student intern through the OSU Umatilla County Extension Service. Throughout these past 10 weeks, I’ve worked on countless projects, interacted with community members, and grown personally.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, this internship has proved me wrong again and again. For instance, obtaining knowledge about the programs, resources, and workshops offered to everyone in the nearby communities of Umatilla and Morrow counties.
Toward the beginning of this internship, I was encouraged to create two personal objectives. Here is what I came up with: Grow within a professional work environment/improve my work ethic skills, and provide educational content about community health to young adults and youth in nearby communities.
One way I’ve incorporated these objectives into this experience is through the STEM Saturday experiments for kids that my fellow intern Ruben and I have been working on throughout this entire internship. An example would include a water tension experiment. I explained that when you dip dish soap into pepper-covered water, the water tension is disturbed. Therefore, the pepper is pushed to the edges of the plate. One way I related this to my community health objective is washing your hands. This allowed the kids to imagine that the pepper is dirt, bacteria, or any other bacterium/infective agent and explaining how important it is to wash your hands under warm water with soap for at least 20 seconds. I felt this was especially important to include considering the global COVID-19 pandemic.
During this process, Ruben and I created “Take and Make” sheets and a lesson plan for these six different water-based experiments. This part of the project really incorporated both objectives I created by allowing us to provide knowledge, collaborate with each other and relay information to our supervisor, and educate others while still having fun!
On the occasion that I was asked what my internship entailed, I made sure to tell them about how I was able to connect with community members, help at workshops, take projects head on, grow professionally, and develop skills that are not offered many places. Additionally, I would like to encourage those who seek challenges, a variety of tasks, and who want to learn more about the community they reside in to research this internship opportunity.
None of this would have been possible without my amazing supervisor, Anna Browne or fellow intern and friend Ruben Lopez. When I look back at this internship experience and my involvement with the OSU Extension Service here in Umatilla county, I would not change anything.
Stay safe everyone and remember to practice social distancing and wear your mask!