Few lines on a pre-med resume look as impressive as attending a program under the Center for Disease Control Summer Camp. Open only to current sophomores and juniors, applicants of the CDC Museum Disease Detective Camp spend five days during the summer immersed in every facet of the public health field. Due to increasing interest, there are now three sessions offered each summer, with 32 seats available in each session. The day camp is held on the grounds of the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. This is an accelerated learning program and widely considered an academically challenging experience. The primary objective of the Disease Detective Camp is to develop laboratory research skills and introduce students to careers in public health.
The topics range from emergency preparedness, data analysis, disease surveillance, school wellness programs, and public health law. The material mirrors the research focus of the CDC, centered on the collection and analysis of data to improve global health through education. The summer camp allows students access to unparalleled experiences, from wearing biohazard suits to working in one of the best labs in the world.
In the promotional video for the Center For Disease Control Summer Camp, a notable quote from a student explains, “I applied to the camp because I was interested in the epidemic side of it, to learn about outbreaks and how they are caused and spread. But then I got here and realized there were so many other opportunities available.”
Students are given the unique opportunity to hear from notable speakers from the public health arena, CDC scientists involved on the forefront of curing national diseases and industry leaders responsible for bringing innovative changes to modern public health. The camp also historically includes a worldwide health fair, to expand insight into the ways public health can be improved on a global scale. In addition to learning about topics like public health law and policy, students are given the chance to hold a press conference to experience the task of communicating their knowledge to the public in a media setting.
From the video, the featured students emphasize the career exploration they experienced throughout the week. “I came here because I was not sure if I was interested in the science of medicine or in public policy part, and I learned that I could combine the two.”
The application to attend one of these summer sessions can be found here, with a postmark deadline in late march. The application documents include: a teacher recommendation form, and also requires the submission of short answers to five essay questions, each limited to 250 words. Students will also need to list three words describing your strengths and three words describing things about yourself you want to improve.
There is no fee to attend this program, however, applicants should take note of the fact that the program does not provide lunches and accommodation. Applicants outside of the nearby area are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be 16 years of age by the first day of the camp to access the laboratory premises.