Jack Fong Gougoutas ’20 (San Francisco)
Environmental Studies
Internship: Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) 

Interns are embraced and quickly involved in work that matters.

What are the daily tasks at your internship?

I’m working on two projects for MDH: the first is a Food Recovery Project with a main focus on resources and communication about reducing food waste at retail food establishments. The project is in its initial stages and I’m responsible for doing an environmental scan/creating a summary document of available resources and partners engaged in food donation. I’m also responsible for the scoping document on the state of food waste in Minnesota and creating a narrative for the importance of food recovery in Minnesota based on my research. 

The second project is a Commuter Analysis Survey aimed to reduce single-occupancy vehicle commuting among employees working in the Capitol Area of St. Paul. I’m responsible for analyzing the data in an agency-wide survey to describe MDH commuting practices and make agency-specific recommendations for leadership. 

Beyond working on certain aspects of these projects every day, I frequently attend meetings and agency-wide seminars regarding anything from the state’s 2020 Water Plan to potential partnerships with local nonprofits and consulting firms.

What’s surprised you?

How friendly and open everyone has been. There is a visible camaraderie among the employees in my department, which I believe stems from the genuine passion they have for their work. Every employee that I’ve met has offered to meet privately and discuss what they do, as well as bring up potential collaboration opportunities for me. Interns are embraced and quickly involved in work that matters.

January 16 2020

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