The Minnesota Prepared Internship program provides students with paid opportunities to work in governmental public health agencies on COVID-19 response and emergency preparedness projects. Grant funds will cover intern wages, so there will be no direct costs incurred by public health agencies who host students for internships. Interns will be hired and paid through the University, but complete all their hours with the public health agency hosting them.

student with mask looking at computer

Internship Program Goals

  • Provide valuable learning experiences to public health students
  • Introduce students to governmental public health and emergency preparedness as career paths
  • Enhance public health agencies’ projects through high-quality student work
  • Build and strengthen relationships between public health agencies, students, and the School of Public Health

Benefits of Internships

  • Develop the skills of the future public health workforce
  • Introduce students to meaningful public service careers in governmental public health
  • Benefit the community through mentorship of the next generation of public health professionals


Summer 2023

  • Project submissions accepted on a rolling basis with a priority deadline of 3/10/23
  • Student applications will be posted in early April
  • Internships begin: mid-May or early June 2023

How to Participate in the Internship Program

If you have a project in COVID-19 response or emergency preparedness that may be appropriate for a student to work on, please complete the host site interest form. If you would like assistance developing a project, or have questions, email Kinsey Mannebach, project coordinator, at

MPH students can work a total of 300 hours on a project, and undergraduate students in the public health minor can work up to 200 hours on a project. The projects can be on-site, remote, or hybrid according to your agency’s needs. Grant funds will pay the student and they will be hired through the University. For more details, please reference the Host Site Internship Manual (opens in new tab/window).

Eligibility criteria to host an intern:

  • State, local, or tribal public health agency in Minnesota
  • Engaged in COVID-19 response and emergency preparedness activities
  • Could benefit from support with projects in emergency preparedness/COVID-19 response
  • Able to commit time to supervise and mentor a student intern

Process overview: 

  1. Determine a project for which an intern could be helpful
  2. Fill out the host site interest form. Project submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.
  3. Receive intern match
  4. Finalize internship details such as work hours and a project timeline
  5. Conduct orientation and onboarding
  6. Supervise and mentor the intern throughout the project
  7. Evaluate your experience at the midpoint and closure of internship

Between 2021-2022, 100% of supervisors who hosted a public health student from SPH were satisfied with the quality of the student’s work.

If you are interested in gaining hands-on, paid experience in a public health agency, consider applying for an internship. Even if you believe you know what career you want to have, it never hurts to explore something different and make connections in the field. For more details, please reference the Student Internship Manual.


COVID-19 response and emergency preparedness internships through Minnesota Prepared will be posted on a rolling semester basis. Keep an eye on the SPHere student newsletter, and check back here for project descriptions. Spring 2023 internship project descriptions will be posted at the end of November 2022.


Internships are open to all School of Public Health (SPH) students and undergraduates in the UMN public health minor. If you are an MPH student, you can use the internship to satisfy the Applied Practice requirement with a few additional steps. Undergraduate students in the public health minor can work on projects for up to 200 total hours, and graduate students can work on projects up to 300 total hours.

Benefits to participating in the internship program:

  • Explore a career path without the commitment of a full or part time job
  • Work on exciting projects in a public health agency
  • Learn more about public service and governmental public health
  • Apply your knowledge and skills from the classroom in the field
  • Grow a professional network
  • Satisfy the Applied Practice requirement for MPH students, if applicable

Features that characterize an internship:

  • A set start and end date (totaling up to 200 hours for undergraduate and 300 for graduate)
  • A defined work plan with goals and aims
  • Learning objectives
  • Supervision and mentorship
  • Development of both field-related and soft skills
  • Ongoing communication about the project with site supervisor/preceptor
  • Evaluation and feedback

Steps in the internship process: 

  1. Apply to the internship program.
  2. A review committee will use a rubric to match students with internship opportunities based on their application materials. Preference will be given to MPH students who plan to use the internship to complete their Applied Practice.
  3. Meet with the host site and SPH to confirm the internship match.
  4. Review project details, work plan, and logistics (hours, start and end date, etc.) with the host site.
  5. Go through applicable orientation and onboarding.
  6. Work diligently throughout the project, maintaining communication with SPH and the host site.
  7. Evaluate your experience through a midpoint and final electronic survey.

Applied Practice

If you would like to use your internship as your Applied Practice, you are responsible for communicating that with the host site, drafting a learning agreement, and enrolling in course credit.

Details can be found on the SPH applied practice website, and questions can be directed to Mercedes Taneja, applied practice coordinator,

Past Internships

Summer 2022 (pilot partnership with the Center for Public Health Systems)

Assessment of Capacity and Emergency Preparedness Plans

  • Student conducted an analysis of the agency’s current plans, worked on developing a plan for training key staff, and created a COVID-19 community recovery toolkit

Site: Horizon County Public Health
Intern: MPH student (Epidemiology)

COVID-19 Impact Assessment

  • Student reviewed the existing community health needs assessment tool and helped design and implement a new survey to assess community health needs in the wake of COVID-19

Site: Polk County Public Health
Intern: MPH student (Epidemiology)

Assessment of Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 on Health Department Staff

  • Student assisted with the evaluation and assessment of a staff wellbeing initiative to address burnout and used the data to create a presentation of the assessment.

Site: Pine County Public Health
Intern: MPH student (Community Health Promotion

Fall 2022

COVID-19 After Action Review

  • Student reviewed and organized information from COVID-19 after-action reviews and key informant interviews into a report to help determine next steps in the after-action review and improvement planning process.

Site: Otter Tail County Public Health
Intern: MPH student (Epidemiology)

Medical Reserve Corps. Volunteer Program Redevelopment

  • Students conducted a needs assessment and assisted with organization and planning for redeveloping the volunteer program.

Site: City of Bloomington Public Health Division
Interns: 2 MPH students (1 from Environmental Health and 1 from Public Health Administration and Policy)

Survey Design and Analysis of Businesses that had COVID-19 Case Clusters

  • Student created a survey and analyzed findings from businesses that had COVID-19 case clusters during the pandemic.

Site: MDH Center for Occupational Health and Safety
Intern: MPH student (Maternal & Child Health)

Monitoring and Evaluation of COVID-19 Community Programs 

  • Student supported the monitoring and evaluation of community partnerships and contractor work to prevent COVID-19 infection and support community recovery.

Site: MDH Center for Health Equity
Intern: MHA student

COVID-19 Health Equity Research

  • Student conducted research on health inequities for communities hit hardest by the pandemic who have experienced long-standing inequities, community engagement models, and the latest equity knowledge on community recovery.

Site: MDH Center for Health Equity
Intern: MPH student (Epidemiology)

COVID-19 Response and Recovery in the Disability Community

  • Student planned and conducted community forums and assisted with analyzing disability data.

Site: MDH Children & Youth with Special Health Needs Section
Intern: MPH student (Maternal & Child Health)

Spring 2023

Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan Development

  • Student reviewed and updated existing emergency preparedness plans and assisted with building new emergency preparedness plans as needed.

Site: Crow Wing County Community Services
Intern: MPH student (Public Health Administration and Policy)

After Action Report and Improvement Plan Tracking Database

  • Student developed and implemented a tracking tool in REDCap to monitor after-action reports and follow up corrective actions.

Site: MDH Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response
Intern: MPH student (Environmental Health)

Emergency Preparedness and Response Qualitative Research

  • Student collaborated with authors and researched journal requirements to submit a qualitative research article about emergency preparedness and disaster behavioral health.

Site: MDH Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response
Intern: MPH student (Community Health Promotion)

Responder Health and Safety Annex Development 

  • Graduate and undergraduate student collaborated to develop an outline for the Responder Health and Safety annex to the All-Hazards Response and Recovery Plan.

Site: MDH Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response
Interns: MPH student (Public Health Administration and Policy) and undergraduate student (Microbiology major with Public Health and Computational Biology minors)

Emergency Preparedness and Response Inventory and Tracking 

  • Student created a current inventory of emergency preparedness and response supplies and developed a process to track supplies and maintain a current inventory.

Site: MDH Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response
Intern: Undergraduate student (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior major with Public Health minor)

Behavioral Health Medical Reserve Corps. Member Communications 

  • Student developed communication materials for the statewide Behavioral Health Medical Reserve Corps. including creating a member newsletter, building a site for training and tools, and updating the volunteer handbook.

Site: MDH Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response
Intern: Undergraduate student (Nursing major with Public Health minor)

© 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement