Intern Experiences

JSI has internship opportunities for students and recent graduates who would like to learn about public health work in both in the United States and in international settings.

After their time with JSI, interns are also asked to write about their internships to reflect on their work. The following are brief reflections by recent JSI interns about their experiences working at JSI.


2022 Interns

Alison Shulte, International Division, Summer 2022

My internship was a crash course on global health contracting. I connected with people across the entire organization and worked on projects in Ethiopia, Guinea, Uganda, and beyond. I learned extensively about JSI’s approach to global health implementation, and will apply this knowledge to my studies and future work.

Izzy Silber, International Division, Summer 2022

JSI incorporates interns into every aspect of its work, from in-depth conversations about global health, proposal processes, to backstopping country projects. It is a welcoming workplace and I appreciate everyone with whom I connected.

Grace Fairchild Saidi, International Division, Summer 2022

My three months at JSI opened my eyes to the scope and depth of global health work. It was truly inspiring to see how teams here and across the world responded to the myriad challenges presented to them. Though my work was in communications, my supervisors ensured that I learned about each role that make projects run. It was thrilling to be a part of an organization that is making a difference in the world, and a pleasure to work with people who value teamwork and camaraderie.

2021 Interns

Jeremiah Menyongai, International Division Intern, Winter 2021

Across the pleasant interactions with staff to the work I helped them with, there was never a dull moment during my internship. I especially appreciate that JSI addresses a broad scope of health issues; the diversity of its work solidified my areas of interest in the field, while exposing me to aspects of public health that I had not considered before. Working for JSI has been a pleasure!

Hana Zwick, Center for HIV & ID Intern, Summer 2021

Interning for JSI’s Center for HIV and Infectious Diseases was the highlight of my summer! I worked on multiple fabulous projects, and met many wonderful people. The knowledge I’ve gained about infectious disease control strategies and from working with people of various backgrounds is of great value to my post-grad school career.

Peter Crispin, Boston International Division, Summer 2021

Through my work with ZAM-Health, I learned how the human resources operations of a large public health project are conducted, and the sheer scale of work that needs to be done. I also learned a great deal about Zambia and its public health and political challenges. This internship showed me how public health can affect a country’s well-being and stability.

Sheree Marshall, International Division Intern, Fall 2021

Over my three-month internship, I worked on proposals and supported a USAID project in its startup phase. The flexibility of the internship meant that every day had the potential to be different, and we were encouraged to seek out work that interested us. My colleagues were welcoming and fostered a wonderful working environment.

2020 Interns

Hannah Rayhill, International Division Intern, Winter 2019-20

My time at JSI has been fortified by valuable lessons in the intricacies of the international development field–specifically through the lens of public health. I have enjoyed the fluid, rapid, and welcoming work environment greatly and will apply what I learned at JSI with me throughout my career.

Jared Sawyer, International Division Intern, Winter 2019-20

My internship with the International Division gave me a ton of insight into the inner workings of global public health projects. And whatever I was doing—from drafting proposals to monitoring and evaluation—I was supported by bright and friendly people.

Katie Busalacchi, International Division Intern, Winter 2020

I had a great experience working with the International Division at JSI! found it very valuable that the internship allowed me to dive in and learn more about areas of global health that particularly interested me, while also getting a sense of the breadth of work that goes into supporting global health projects on the back end. This experience definitely helped me to contextualize my previous experiences working abroad and to form a more complete picture of global health project cycles.

2019 Interns

Leanna Cates, International Division Intern, Spring 2019

I spent the first few weeks of my internship getting coffee with program officers, technical advisors, the chief financial officer, and even the president. I learned more about what it means to work in development from their personal stories and challenges than from any classroom experience.

Through my work with the Timor-Leste Reinforce Basic Health Services project, I learned about procurement and how program officers support field teams. I conducted a comparative study on global financing facility investment cases. I helped recruit team members, organize resumes, and write up corporate capabilities for Kyrgyz Republic and Ukraine proposals. I began to understand how much work it takes to implement large international projects effectively and appreciate that every task, from filing to presentations, is important.

Rachel Scarpino, International Division Intern, Spring 2019

The goal I had in mind when I applied for this internship was to find something meaningful to do during the semester between finishing my undergraduate degrees and starting graduate school. JSI helped me fulfill this goal through tasks ranging from working on proposal teams and learning about capacity building to researching local partners and grantees in JSI project countries. I loved that this internship allowed me to work with a range of people in Boston and DC and in countries including Zambia and Uganda because it never felt as though I was confined to a cubicle!

Rachana Talekar, International Division Intern/India, Summer 2019

From the beginning of my internship with JSI, India, I was exposed to multiple facets of the project and assigned tasks such as writing technical briefs and developing promotional handouts and newsletters. I had many memorable experiences during field visits to rural areas in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where, as I interacted with the community, I realized how small changes can make big differences. I also saw the challenges of implementing a rural project, which would have been hard to appreciate from a city office.

I cherish the long discussions with my project head, who guided me throughout my internship and gave me practical advice for my future. Before my internship, my goal was to learn about project implementation in India and challenges in developing countries, but I returned to my MPH program with much more than that!

Michelle Olakkengil, International Division Intern, Fall 2019

I absolutely loved my time with JSI. Working for the International Division, and specifically the HIV Center—exposed me to the behind-the-scenes activities of an implementing partner, which complemented a previous experience I had with USAID. What I enjoyed the most was the work environment and horizontal structure: everyone was helpful and I was comfortable approaching anyone with questions and ideas. JSI invests a lot in its interns and cultivates a true learning experience.

2018 Interns

Juliet Johnson, International Division Intern, February-May 2018

My time at JSI, during my final semester as an undergraduate, was extremely rewarding. I loved that I could start my day with no schedule, and by the end of it I had reviewed a proposal on the elimination of neglected tropical diseases, helped recruit staff in Uganda, and took part in the interview process for summer interns. Not only have I gained an understanding of how JSI works; I now have an idea of how global health interventions function behind the scenes.

2017 Interns

Faheem Ahmed, International Division/Washington D.C., Summer 2017

From Day One of my internship at JSI, I knew it was a place where I would thrive. With its amazing people from myriad backgrounds, it would be almost impossible not to become a more informed and globally cultured person by spending time here. As I enter my junior year of college, I have a better idea of what I want for a career and am setting my goals accordingly. Thank you, JSI!

Sarah Collins, International Division Intern/Washington, D.C., Summer 2017

The best part about my time at JSI was working and talking with other staff. During one outstanding conversation, a colleague told me about a difficult situation he’d had in Africa. After listening, I told him about a similar experience I had had in Malawi. For the first time, I felt that someone understood my story and how it affected my life.

The various meetings, brown bags, and presentations that I attended inspired me to learn more about the world around me. I’m taking that inspiration back to school, and hope to keep it for the rest of my life.

Julia Davidovitz, JSI/World Education Communications Intern, Summer 2017

Before I started at JSI and World Education, I worried that my English literature degree and limited experience in an office environment would leave me unprepared for a position in public health communications. But the welcoming people at JSI and World Education and their various and fascinating projects dissolved my concerns.

My assignments never felt mundane or insubstantial. I wrote announcements about new projects and mentions in the press that were actually published on the company websites! Even routine tasks, like adding tags to posts on JSI’s blog, The Pump, were opportunities to learn about the important work that JSI contributes to global public health. Better still, I got to hear about coworkers’ lives, travel, and work experiences. Despite my temporary tenure, I felt like I belonged. I hope that my future career will be as rewarding as my time at JSI and World Education.

Katarina Pesic Vidic, International Division Intern/Washington, D.C., Summers 2016, 2017

I have interned at JSI for the past two summers. That’s how good it is! I worked on a variety of projects, each of which increased my understanding of global public health issues. I saw how JSI adapts its approaches to the particulars of each context, the better to assure that programs meet the needs of those they serve.

But what I enjoyed most, and what has solidified my desire to pursue a career in public health, are the inspiring and generous people who I met and worked with at JSI.

Vanessa Pressat, International Division Intern, Summer 2017

Before the first day of my JSI internship, I worried that all I would be asked to do would be to make coffee, print, and copy papers. I was happy to be wrong: my assignments included writing technical briefs and job descriptions. I got to participate in new business development efforts and was exposed to the proposal writing process.

This summer I learned what JSI does and how much it is helping in less-developed countries, and I now have an understanding of public health and international development. I also gained skills that I will apply to everyday life.

Tessa Snyder, International Division Intern/Washington, DC, Summer 2017

I had an outstanding time at JSI this summer. I have always wanted to work in global health and this internship immersed me in the world of public health consulting for development. Not only did I work on some remarkable projects with the immunization center, I was exposed to interactions between public health organizations and home and field staff.

JSI has given me technical tools and knowledge that a public health student can only dream of. I will use what I’ve learned in future graduate studies and global health work.

Anna Wadwani, International Division Intern, Summer 2017

JSI’s Boston office is full of intelligent and interesting people who are happy to share their experience. At the start of my internship, I expressed my interest in monitoring and evaluation. Accordingly, I got to work with M&E staff on tasks related to JSI’s information system, new business development, and government policy. My colleagues gave me a lot of freedom and responsibility, which helped me learn new skills and allowed me to put a personal touch on my work.

Before starting my internship, I set a few goals, one of which was to learn how global health projects are implemented. My participation in the proposal process and individual projects helped me reach this goal, and gave me a new, ‘real-world’ perspective on what I’ve been learning in my classes as a public health major at the George Washington University. As I enter my final year of undergrad, I will apply what I learned at JSI to decisions about grad school and my career.

2016 Interns

Soa Andrian, International Division Intern, Summer 2016

This summer, in addition to learning a lot about international public health, I developed friendships and mentoring relationships I deeply value. JSI’s commitment to professional development and mentorship is remarkable. While not required, we were encouraged to find a mentor. My mentor and I had long conversations about international development at length, and he gave me practical advice on the post-graduate job search. We also talked about what it is like and what it means to be a minority in the workplace.

Although I’d taken several classes in global health and health policy as an undergrad, there was no end to what I could and did learn during my time at JSI. I appreciate the variety of work I was given, and the willingness of my coworkers to help me explore my intellectual and professional interests.

Amelia Fox, JSI/World Education Communications Intern, Summer 2016

My role as a communications intern for JSI and World Education was both an incredible gift and a weighty responsibility. The more I learned, the more compelled I felt to do justice to the inspiring projects bringing about social change across the globe.

At times I found myself in complete awe of these efforts. There were days when I’d be skimming JSI’s YouTube page to create social media posts and would immediately be sucked into the subject matter. Whether the topic of the video was maternal health reform in Georgia or preventing umbilical cord infection in Nepali newborns, I couldn’t help but watch every second of it. When it came time to tweet, I found it nearly impossible to distill the work to a mere 144 characters.

An undeniably motivating aspect of my internship was the culture at JSI and World Education—and the bright and innovative people who comprise it. They welcomed my participation in meetings and trusted me to produce featured content on the website; success stories, news items, blogs, photo essays, and staff spotlights.

This summer I got a taste of what is it is like to work for a global NGO. Yet even after 11 intense weeks, I know that I’ve barely scratched the surface. Perhaps that is why people stay so long at JSI and World Education—there is always more to learn, a new project to be a part of, and more ways to make a difference.

Nicole Giron, Health Services Intern/California, Summer, 2016

I have never been more challenged and involved in an internship than I was during my summer at JSI’s California office. Before the internship, I had no idea that an organization like JSI existed.

One of the most salient parts of my JSI experience was how hands-on the team expected me to be. I was assigned meaningful tasks immediately. A great example is the health communication project for Merced County. I had zero health communication experience, and through my work on this project I learned to brand material with community input, and executed a health-oriented photo shoot featuring community members, whom I was charged with recruiting and coordinating. As I worked and talked with the recruits, I learned about the various health issues in Merced.

My internship took place the summer before I began a master’s program in community health, and my experiences with JSI lend tremendous insight into the theoretic foundations that I’m learning in class.

2015 Interns

Britta Marden, JSI/World Education Communications Intern, Summer 2015

My internship with the Communications team this summer taught me a lot about the inner workings of a global company. Because Communications works across all divisions of JSI and World Education, I learned about each division’s internal, cross-divisional, and external communications. What I found so great is that both companies house intelligent employees who are committed to working hard.

At JSI and World Education, intern input is encouraged and I always felt comfortable speaking up. When I did, my perspective was valued and considered. I also learned plenty of skills. I developed photo essays for the website, interviewed staff for website spotlights, and worked in the project and document databases, uploading and editing descriptions, documents, and templates. Another valuable aspect of my internship was that I got to work independently. Once assigned a task, its completion was up to me. This “learn-as-you-go” approach gave me direct experience and helped me master particular skills.

Another thing that made internship so enjoyable was the friendliness of the employees. JSI and World Education staff are kind and interesting people. Working here has enriched my professional abilities and laid a foundation for my career.

Ajar Siddiqui, Accounting Intern, October 2014 – August 2015

I’m an accounting major who got the chance to intern with JSI’s accounting department this past year. My primary responsibilities were to support the department in the areas of accounts receivable, payroll, and accounts payable. But I soon discovered that my job description was by no means rigid! Shortly after I started, I was learning how to prepare audit schedules, reporting costs to a federal agency (USAID), and working in a federal database.

It was rewarding to know that my work was helping to support JSI’s mission of improving the health of underserved people and communities. But my favorite part about working at JSI was being part of a corporate culture that values its people. My colleagues were encouraging and supportive and even though I was an intern, my ideas were valued and given merit. As an accounting intern, I was able to apply classroom-based skills inside a professional organization. I also learned skills and gained experience that will better prepare me for my final year of undergrad and wherever my career may take me!

Hallie Perlick, International Division Intern/Madagascar, September – December 2015

When I started my internship at the Madagascar Community-Based Integrated Health Program (MAHEFA) program in Antananarivo, several projects awaited my assistance. These included a dissemination workshop; a fiscal year start-up workshop; and the project annual report. As time passed, however, I became more involved in communications projects. I traveled to many of the program’s intervention regions to speak with community members about how the program was affecting their lives. We recounted their stories in the annual report and newsletters. I also led the production of a photo book that uses photos taken over the 5-year program to document MAHEFA’s activities.

In Antananarivo, there is a variety of development organizations, nonprofits, and public sector community health workers. During the three months that I spent there, I learned about other projects and met some of the people who work on them. I can’t imagine a more serendipitous way to embark upon my career.

Hillary Teed, International Division Intern, September 2014 – May 2015

I had a great experience during my nine-month internship with JSI’s Boston International Group. As a dual MBA and MSc candidate (international health policy and management), I was interested in business, public health, and cross-sector global development partnerships.

I supported a variety of functions, including the proposal development process, and completed two independent projects focused on private sector engagement and non-communicable diseases. This allowed me to work collaboratively and individually and exposed me to JSI’s traditional business functions and new areas of involvement for the organization. I gained valuable insight into how JSI approaches new business development and considers investment options.

JSI is characterized by amazing people and its commitment to the delivery of exceptional public health work. I was so pleased to spend an academic year at JSI. The rich and varied personal and professional experiences that I had there will surely contribute to the next phase of my global health career.

2014 Interns

Jessica Dubow, International Division Intern/Washington, D.C., Fall 2014

I’m interning for the Center for Health Information, Monitoring, and Evaluation (CHIME) in fall rather than over the summer. I graduated this past May, and in a few months I leave for the Peace Corps. Meanwhile, I hope to develop a stronger background in health and expand my understanding of how large public health organizations work.

People at JSI have a wealth of experience and love to share it. I attended a lunch presentation about an intervention that introduced iron into Cambodian diets, and all week I heard people referring to it. I’ve since been to another short presentation on useful design tools. Even the people I haven’t met individually have been extremely friendly and welcoming. I admit I was taken aback at first by everyone saying hello in the elevator and making small talk in the kitchen.

Two days after beginning my internship, I received news that my Peace Corps placement had changed from Nicaragua to Ethiopia. After spending six months expecting to go to Nicaragua, I suddenly had only seven days to decide whether I would commit 27 months to a region and culture I knew absolutely nothing about. My supervisor immediately connected me with several people at JSI who are Ethiopian or who have worked in Ethiopia. Everyone was more than happy to talk with me, lend me books, and teach me some phrases in Amharic, which made me both more excited to accept my invitation and more comfortable at JSI.

Jennifer Gilbert, International Division Intern, Fall 2013/Spring 2014

Interning at JSI was one of the most valuable experiences I had in college. During my year as an International Division intern, I had the pleasure of supporting staff members on everything from technical manuals and family planning interventions to hiring staff for bilateral proposals.

JSI exposed me to all of the components that go into large-scale international public health projects. The variety of things I learned include budgeting, procurement, proposal design, human resources, and travel logistics in addition to more advanced research and data analysis. One of the project coordinators described working at JSI as a sort of “MBA in public health,” because you learn many business and operations skills that are not always emphasized in the classroom. Some of the most notable memories I have were designing checklists and evaluation data on emergency obstetric care and clinic preparedness for a project in Timor-Leste, as well as preparing posters and newsletters for family planning work.

A great aspect of JSI is that people are really accessible. I worked with staff from all levels of the division and many went out of their way to talk with me about my future. Several technical staff members made time to advise me about different educational or career opportunities. JSI encourages this environment by offering occasions to volunteer, learn, and enjoy food together. Few large organizations are as tightly-knit.

Working at JSI was wonderful. I leave with a much broader vision of global health and a number of mentors to whom I can turn as I go forward.

Erin Glese-Smith, International Intern, Summer 2014

When I interviewed at JSI, a former intern explained to me that there was no such thing as an “intern task.” I didn’t realize how true that was until I spent a summer with JSI. Everyone does a little bit of everything here, from making copies to writing proposals, and that leads to a uniquely varied and educational experience.

One of the most significant aspects of interning at JSI was exposure to the various components of supporting large-scale health projects oversees. I worked on everything from USAID financial audits to developing a toolkit of resources to run a contraceptive day. This variety helped me define the areas of global health that I hope to work in, and gave me a greater understanding of the landscape of the international development field.

My time at JSI has truly shaped how I will approach my last year of graduate school at the University of Michigan. I now have a more defined career path and areas to focus my time and studies. JSI provided a comprehensive introduction to the field of global health project implementation and an experience for which I am extremely grateful.

Tarikwa Leveille, International Intern/Pretoria, South Africa, Summer 2014

As an intern for the MEASURE project, I gained an understanding of program evaluation and its role in improving public health. With the help of JSI, the South Africa Department of Health implemented the District Health Information Software to monitor and evaluate data quality for evidence-based health care services. The data they collect from facilities determines which health services are needed and provided to the people of South Africa. The training for the software, which I attended, gave me a new appreciation for the importance of a functioning system to monitor and evaluate data to provide health services.

My internship was the first time that I was treated as a professional with something to offer—not just much to learn. My supervisor asked me for ideas and valued my knowledge. He gave me the autonomy to pursue whatever interested me at the office.

But I was also part of the team, in and out of the office. On July 18th, in honor of Nelson Mandela Day, everyone is encouraged to serve the community. The JSI South Africa team painted a classroom for the Tembisa Child Welfare Society for abandoned, abused, orphaned, and foster children. It was wonderful to spend time with the children, and served as a reminder of the privileges that many of us take for granted, regardless of the part of the world we inhabit.

Jeff Paddock, International Division Intern/Washington, DC, Summer 2014

My internship at JSI’s Washington, DC office was a fantastic look inside a truly diverse company. Internships are meant to be mutually beneficial, and nowhere else is this exemplified the way it is at JSI. I was able to work on numerous interesting projects and was encouraged by my supervisors to make connections wherever I could. I participated in research for the International Association of Public Health Logisticians resource library, and spent much of my time using QGIS software to research open street map supply routes in Tanzania. These tasks marked my first contributions to foreign aid, and I don’t just say that lightly. JSI seems to be composed of nice people from every fascinating walk of life who decide to nest here, and they showed me a degree of respect that encouraged me to pursue my own path at the end of the summer.

Ari Radcliffe-Greene, Health Services Intern, Summer 2014

I am split about which part of my experience at JSI I have liked the most. There is the job itself of course, but that would not have been as enjoyable if not for the JSI community.

In support of the first option is the experience I have gained. As a communications intern for the project, I had the luxury of sampling pieces of some very specific but fascinating disciplines. I learned about the challenges of running a government website, keeping it well managed, and discussing difficult issues in a way appropriate for an official resource. At the same time, we had to maintain viewers by offering useful tools in an exciting way. The complexities of the project behind-the-scenes is truly fascinating, from organizing spreadsheets to posting on more than five social media sites to filming HIV-related videos.

Through all of that, I was supported by my teammates. They challenged me but never left me at a loss. They gave me the space to work diligently and were wonderful role models, and for that I thank them.

So which is better, the love of the job or the community around it? I guess I’ll never know.

Mercy Simiyu, International Division Intern/Ethiopia, Summer 2014

Every day this past summer, I ate injera, smiled, and laughed. I was an intern in Ethiopia, providing communications and documentation support to JSI’s Integrated Family Health Program (IFHP) Oromia Regional Program Office. This opportunity allowed me to meet some of the most public-health minded folks in Addis Ababa. My colleagues made this position especially wonderful. They welcomed me warmly and took time to make sure I understood every aspect of IFHP’s regional office.

As any intern would attest, I was thrilled to do more than what my ‘title’ indicated. Not only did I visit health centers in low-resource settings, I also conducted field-level data collection, entry, analysis, and reporting; focus group discussions with community health workers on the use of technology for service improvement and the determinants of oral rehydration systems use at the household level; and attended trainings on how to fill in maternal and child health register books.

I have always wanted to come back home to Africa to work on global health issues, and this internship strengthened my resolve to do so. I appreciated the daily cultural immersion in Ethiopia (enjoying injera, the occasional raw meat (kitfo), and practicing Amharic), but was truly inspired to be involved with IFHP’s community-level work, which focuses on health care quality improvement, building health care staff capacity, and ultimately, improving people’s lives.

Gagan Verma, International Division Intern/Ethiopia, Summer 2014

This summer I spent two months as an intern for JSI’s USAID-funded Integrated Family Health Program (IFHP) in Ethiopia, which aims to reduce maternal and child mortality, improve child nutrition, and increase the availability of long-term family planning methods and immunizations. I helped program directors analyze project data and created a feasibility analysis to strengthen maternal delivery services and infection prevention by implementing rainwater harvesting in rural health centers.

I also visited rural health posts to gather information about the use of oral rehydration treatment and conducted focus groups with Health Extension Program staff, the IFHP-trained community health workers. I learned how important it is to promote health-seeking interventions that respect cultural traditions. Above all, my time in Ethiopia reinforced my goal to develop health care systems in low-resource areas.