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Tick Surveillance Interns

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2021 Tick Surveillance Internship

The Tick Surveillance Internship connects interested students to key host sites throughout the southeastern United States. Interns receive a stipend and are trained on a region-wide tick surveillance effort, both in the field and in the lab.

Surveillance activities by our largest intern cohort in SECVBD history, consisting of 23 dedicated tick surveillance interns spanning 8 states of the southeast, are well underway. Interns are hosted by vector-borne disease experts throughout the region and support a unified effort for the rigorous surveillance of ticks, including tick abundance, distribution, identification, and vouchering. This effort also will enable spatial mapping of tick vector distribution, which will be used to create a suite of species distribution models for the region. Host sites are also harmonizing tick-borne pathogen testing for ticks collected across the southeastern United States, laying the groundwork for expanded tick and tick-borne disease surveillance. Host sites include the University of Alabama, University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina, Appalachian State University, Tennessee Department of Health, University of Missouri, Georgia Department of Health, Old Dominion University, and the University of Kentucky. This supplemental internship program bolsters our existing summer internship program, supports Program Project 3, and further invests in the next generation of public health entomologists. Say hello if you run into one of the many tick surveillance interns in the field!

2021 Tick University

The Online Tick Training Course launched by the SECVBD served as a review and pre-requisite for the training. Topics of the Tick University included an update on CDC tick surveillance projects; CDC data management (i.e., use of ArboNet); tick identification using a dichotomous key; tick surveillance methods; and field and laboratory practicums. The training also served to standardize tick surveillance and data entry across the tick surveillance interns, to support future spatial mapping and objectives of the 2021 tick supplemental funding. Beyond the agenda, Tick University helped to build up the public health entomology community of practice, with particular emphasis on building the network of peers and mentors for interns.

Practicing dragging during the Tick University field practicum
Identification practice during the Tick University lab practicum *CDC guidelines for COVID-19 at the time of the training were followed

2021 Interns – Thank You!

The 2021 tick surveillance interns are listed below by state, with their host sites in parentheses. We are so happy to have you all on board!

AL: Thelma Hammer, Madeline Wasden (Drs. John McCreadie and Jon Rayner, University of South Alabama)

GA: Taylor Pearson, Ashley Dombrowski (Drs. Rosmarie Kelly and Tiffany Nguyen, Georgia Department of Public Health)

KY: Anna Pasternak, Rachel Brown (Dr. Reddy Palli, University of Kentucky)

MO*: Sarah Offield, Rachel Rebel, Isabella Richardson, Cristian Keegan-Caro (Drs. Deb Anderson and Brenda Beernsten, University of Missouri; Molly Baker, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services)

NC: Aiden Winters, Wesley Cochran; Jessica Blackburn (Drs. Michael Reiskind and Ross Boyce, North Carolina State University; Dr. Steve Seagle, Appalachian State University)

SC: Emily Morrison, Breanna Greenwood, Michael Yan, Bridget Karably (Dr. Melissa Nolan, University of South Carolina)

TN: Jake Schultz, Thomas Hutto, Truman McDaniel, Amanda Overbye (Dr. Abelardo Moncayo, Tennessee Department of Health)

VA: Shravani Chitineni, Zachary Bement (Dr. Holly Gaff, Old Dominion University)

*Four interns funded through our summer internship program are supporting the tick supplement objectives in Missouri.