National Public Health Week: Jonaisha & Kristi PH interns

As we finish celebrating National Public Health Week, check out this feature on two of our Public Health interns, Jonaisha & Kristi, who have been vital in assisting with ECU’s contact tracing unit!

Names: Jonaisha Sessoms & Kristi Lang


Jonaisha: Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health

Kristi: Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health

Hobbies & Interest:

Jonaisha: Spending time with my family and friends

Kristi: Dance, Coffee (Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts) traveling, and seeing friends and family

Do you have any quotes or words to live by?

Jonaisha: “Everyday may not be good…. But there is something good in everyday”

Kristi: If you can dream it, you can do it – Walt Disney

What brought you to ECU?

Jonaisha: “ECU was close to my hometown. I had a family member who graduated from ECU. Once I toured ECU, I realized that being here is where I needed to be.”

Kristi: “I wanted to go to a big university that was close to my hometown (Raleigh). A lot of people who went to my high school went to ECU, therefore I decided to give a shot and tour ECU. Ever since then I knew that this was the place for me and to achieve my goals. As always Go Pirates!”

Describe your experience working within contact tracing?

Jonaisha: “Working with Contact tracing has been an awesome experience so far. It feels good to know that I’m helping ECU’s community slow down the spread of COVID. Also, thanks to Kelli Russell for allowing me to be apart of the amazing opportunity.”

Krisit: “So far, my experience here has been awesome. I have already learned so much about contact tracing and am excited to learn more! I love that I can be a part of helping ECU’s community slow the spread of COVID.”

What led you to working in this setting?

Jonaisha: “Well, a part of me completing my degree is that I have to complete an internship. After having Kelli as my professor for a couple of classes, I knew that having an internship with her would be great. Before I applied, I went to the career center and had them look over my cover letter and resume. Once I revised my documents, I sent them out to Kelli for this opportunity, then I was interviewed, and received this spot.”

Kristi: “Due to COVID a lot of the internships I interviewed for were remote. I wanted a hands-on internship and on that was in person to get experience. When Ms. Haddock mentioned there was an internship for contact tracing Kelli Russell, I was interested! I reached out to Kelli and accepted the offer. I knew that she would prepare me for the workplace after I graduate!”

 What is your favorite part about your experience thus far?

Jonaisha: “So far, it’s learning more and more about contact tracing and meeting new faculty members that come in and do their shift. Also, another part is once I leave my internship, I don’t have to worry about getting on my computer and doing any homework.”

Kristi: “My favorite part about this is that it’s so different then what I’m used to. My whole life I have taken classes, had tests to study for, and had homework. I feel so old (in a good way) and it’s been adjustment but is preparing me for my next chapter after graduation.”

What is your favorite aspect of the public health program?

Jonaisha: “My favorite aspect of the public health program would be the professors. The professors here at ECU are nice and caring and they want you to see you succeed once you graduate and get into the real world.”

Kristi: “When I declared my major and started taking more health classes, I realized that the college of Health and Human Performance is like its own little community. I have gotten to know the other students and staff and know that I can always go to them when I need help.”

Do you have any advice to incoming public health students?

Jonaisha: “My advice to incoming public health students would be to get involved in all the clubs and organizations, also try to get as much volunteer experience while here at ECU. All these things will look good on your resume. If you need help don’t be afraid to ask your professor, that is what they are here for.”

Kristi: “My advice would be going to class and participate in class. Missing class not only puts you behind but doesn’t allow you to make connections with your professors. Take advantage of their office hours! Become involved by joining clubs and helping the community! The littlest differences still have an impact!”