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Environmental public health major to intern at CDC

RELEASED: April 15, 2010

Patrick Bloecher
Patrick Bloecher

EAU CLAIRE — A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior will spend his summer as an intern with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgia.

Patrick Bloecher, an environmental public health major from Elderon, was one of 12 students chosen for a CDC internship from a pool of 672 applicants. He will intern in the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Collegiate Leaders in Environmental Health program in Atlanta.

"This program will provide me with the opportunity to work on an environmental health project, interact with federal officials and scientists, and visit important environmental health sites in Atlanta," Bloecher said. "I will attend seminars offered by the CDC during the summer and I'll meet prominent environmental health leaders in the Atlanta area. This is a very competitive internship and I am very honored and proud to have been selected to participate."

Bloecher has received the 2010 Wisconsin Environmental Health Association Robert R. Nelson scholarship and the 2010 Amber Krenz Memorial ENPH Scholarship for study abroad.

"Patrick is an exemplary ENPH student, completing basic science courses and learning how to apply these sciences to protect public health," said Dr. Crispin Pierce, associate professor of environmental public health."He understands the links between resource conservation and human health. He has a keen perception and focused determination to solve environmental health problems. This determination is represented in his leadership on the Student Senate, his collaboration with other ENPH and nursing students in faculty-student research, and his leadership of the Student National Environmental Health Association."

The environmental public health field likely will expand during the coming years as people better understand the connection between the health of the environment and the health of the people living within it, Bloecher said.

"Learning about this connection and being involved in improving our campus and community is something that I find truly rewarding," said Bloecher, who expects to graduate in December. "What I like most about the field of environmental public health is the opportunity it offers to create positive impacts on the world around us. In the field of environmental public health, compassion goes a long way, and I have learned that with persistence and perseverance there are ways to help create an environment that is more conducive to the health of the community it supports. That is an initiative that I am honored to be a part of."

Being an environmental public health major and a Spanish minor has given him a solid educational background to prepare for the internship, said Bloecher, who spent a semester studying in Costa Rica and will study in Spain in the fall.

Pierce said Bloecher is an example of a student who is making the most of the many opportunities UW-Eau Claire offers its students.

"Pat is a campus leader, has earned academic distinction through strong course performance and involvement in research projects, and will have studied in Costa Rica and Spain by graduation," Pierce said. "His selection for this prestigious CDC internship further reflects his commitment to and bright future in environmental public health."

After he earns his undergraduate degree, Bloecher plans to work with a professional health agency to gain experience before continuing his education. Eventually, he wants to continue his studies in the field of applied health science.

"In the future, I want to use my Spanish skills abroad by helping underserved communities gain access to clean drinking water and sanitation practices," Bloecher said. "I want to help advance and promote environmental public health. I feel that we all share a great responsibility to ensure that we leave behind a better world than that which we have acquired."

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JB/DW

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