This summer, I had the opportunity to work at the Montgomery County Health
Department. My official job title was an EHS (Environmental Health Safety) Fellow, however I
quickly became a Swiss Army Knife of sorts regarding different sectors of public health. I began
my journey this summer by completing tasks and projects that fell under the public health
education category. I managed the social media accounts of the health department, including an
Instagram page, Facebook account, and even a TikTok account that I created at the start of my
time at the health department. On the facebook page, I made posts that highlighted recent food
recalls or advisories so that the county knew about them as soon as possible. On the Instagram
page, I prepared informational graphics regarding multiple health-related topics. Such topics
included endangered species, how to support local farmers, and celebrated holidays/awareness
months. On the TikTok page, I filmed and created informational videos for the general public to
watch, learn from, and enjoy. Such videos included a tour of the building, the process of using
gravid traps for mosquitoes, the mosquito identification process, services provided at the health
department and highlighting the health department’s free array of contraceptives and harm
reduction kits. Additionally, I wrote articles on various health-related topics and submitted them
to local newspapers, one landing on the Sunday health page in The Paper 24-7. Some articles
included sun safety tips, expiration dates vs. best use dates, how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites on your property, and gray water vs. black water and how to handle both in RVs.

Lepper ’25 did not spend all his time in the lab. This is a photo of one of the many gravid traps he set up this summer.
Lepper ’25 posing for a picture while hard at work in the lab.

Also during my early time at the health department, I shadowed both EHS specialists at
the health department, Don Orr and Adrianne Northcutt. With Don, I went on septic tank
installations and inspections. With Adrianne, I went on food, home, and pool inspections. These
experiences allowed me to realize that I may very well pursue a career in either septic or
food/home inspections, as my time with Don and Adrianne piqued my interest regarding their
The bulk of my time at the health department was spent doing vector control. In early
June, our health educator and I went to a two-day training session in Indianapolis for vector
control, which I also wrote an article about. Immediately following those training sessions, I
began setting gravid traps in areas within the county and would collect those traps either the next
day or two days after (depending on the battery type used). I would then bring them back to the
Health Department, identify them, and then send them to an entomologist in Indianapolis to have
them tested for West Nile Virus. I would also add the data gained from collecting the mosquitoes
into a database that Montgomery County has been recording vector control information in since I had an absolute blast doing vector control at the health department, as I spent a lot of time outside setting the traps and also a lot of time identifying the mosquitoes under a dissecting scope and by using a dichotomous key. This allowed for a perfect combination of lab work and work in the field.

It is by the grace of the Global Health Initiative that I was able to have such an amazing
experience this summer. Between making strong connections, learning more about potential
career paths, and doing real work that matters to the county, I would say that this summer will be
hard to top. I extend personal thanks to Eric Wetzel, Jill Rogers, and Amber Reed. I have now
taken two global-health related classes and one biology class taught by Dr. Wetzel and he has
further ignited the fire within me that burns for the environment and global health. Without Dr.
Wetzel, I can truly say that I would not have the same passion for the environment and global
health as I do now. Jill Rogers was an amazing coordinator for getting me settled into the
internship, as well as on-campus housing. Without Jill I simply would not be able to participate
in the internship, and for that I am forever grateful. Lastly, I want to thank Amber Reed of the
Montgomery County Health Department. Despite being the top-dog per se at the health
department, Amber always treated me with such respect and kindness that revealed to me how
valuable of a person she is. Amber is firm, yet comforting, and leads a crew of individuals like
I’ve never seen. These three individuals have made a permanent impact on me, and I will
continually thank them for this experience.