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Student Applied Practicum Experience Highlight: Thora Middleton

Updated: Mar 28

Name: Thora Middleton

Program: Global Environmental Health

Certificate(s): Climate and Health

Graduation Date: May 2021

Where did you do your APE?

I did my APE at Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) and at the CDC's Climate and Health Branch.

What did you do for your APE?

For OSI, I was the Communications & Marketing Intern. I coordinated the communications, marketing, and social media needs of OSI. Some of my daily and weekly tasks included creating bi-weekly newsletters, coordinating all the social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), designing flyers and banners on Canva, updating the WordPress website, writing blogs, and tracking social media engagement.

For the CDC's Climate and Health Branch, I researched the effectiveness of various climate and health interventions and updated current CDC reports. The CDC utilizes The Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework, which is a five-step process that allows health officials to develop strategies and programs to help communities prepare for the health effects of climate change. I've been working on step 3, which is Assessing Public Health Interventions. With these updated assessments, local and state health departments will have the information they need to make evidence-based decisions on climate and health interventions.

How did you find your APE?

I found my APE at OSI through the Ethics and Servant Leadership (EASL) program hosted by Emory's Center for Ethics. I submitted my application to the EASL program, which then put me in contact with OSI to interview for the internship. Unfortunately, the EASL program was cancelled due to the pandemic, but OSI ended up offering me a position through their own Student Internship program.

For my Climate and Health Branch APE, I was put in contact with the branch lead through my REAL supervisor. The Climate and Health Branch only has four full-time staff, so they had a few projects they had open for a student to work on. Once I virtually met with the branch lead, we walked through my options and chose a project for me to work on.

When did you start looking for an APE?

I started seriously looking around the end of February. I knew I wanted to stay local, as opposed to applying for the Global Field Experience, so my time constraints were not as pressing as those who wanted to leave the United States for their APE.

How do you think your APE enhanced your experience at Rollins?

Both of my APEs highlighted the importance of communications in the environmental health field, especially communications for people who may not be experts in this field. Through my APE at OSI, I was able to build up my social media experience and add several platforms to my skill set, like Canva, WordPress, MailChimp, and more. Through my APE at CDC, I was able to boost my technical writing and literature review skills. All of these skills have helped me in classes during my second year and have strengthened my resume when applying for jobs. Additionally, my APE at CDC has enhanced my experience as a Climate and Health certificate student. Although an APE focused on climate and health is not a requirement, it certainly fits in well with the certificate.

What were your APE deliverables?

My OSI deliverables included all of my social media posts - including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook - as well the bi-weekly newsletters I created and a series of environmental justice blogs I wrote.

My Climate and Health Branch deliverables included the in-depth literature review I conducted (presented on an Excel sheet) and a word document of all my separate reports combined into one.

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