The Bergami Summer Internships Blog

'I Will Help Aid Connecticut’s Efforts to Rapidly Scale Up Contact Tracing'

I am excited to be making a meaningful difference while completing an internship through the University’s Bergami Summer Internship Program. A health sciences major, I am helping the state of Connecticut track COVID-19 in my work as a contact tracer with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

August 5, 2020

By Gabriela Chavez ’21

Gabriela Chavez ’21
Gabriela Chavez ’21

Community transmission of COVID-19 was first detected in the United States in January 2020. Many, if not all, people have been immensely affected by this virus, and, as a health sciences major, I wanted to get involved to make a difference. Because it’s so relevant to today’s world, I was really excited to help in slowing or essentially stopping the spread of COVID-19 by becoming a contact tracer.

Being a COVID-19 contract tracer with the Connecticut Department of Health fits well within my academic studies and with my career goals because it allows me to gain experience within the health field while allowing me to learn about a new disease. I recently completed an epidemiology course, and I learned about pandemics and now I can participate in the movement to stop them.

Gabriela Chavez working at her computer.
Gabriela Chavez is serving as a COVID-19 contract tracer with the Connecticut Department of Health.

Contact tracers use a confidential software system for monitoring the health and wellbeing of people affected by COVID-19. I will help aid Connecticut’s efforts to rapidly scale up contact tracing to help combat COVID-19 and enable the continued safe reopening of the state. The information collected will be used to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the state.

My expectations for this internship are to really learn about the disease itself and learn how to communicate over the phone, especially with patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. I participated in three training sessions and orientations, along with a six-hour course to get certified. After that, I “attended” multiple orientations via Microsoft Teams to go over the production site that we will be using to call patients as well as other sites to contact people.

The first week I was very nervous, since I am naturally very shy and quiet. This was my chance to get out of my comfort zone and talk to strangers about a very sensitive topic. It was very easy to get used to the software, and the contacts find comfort in our calls because they know we are a friendly voice watching out for them.

Because I am working fully remotely from home, I feel very comfortable and confident because I can work at my own pace and in my own space to make sure that my work is being done diligently and with the best quality. I can’t wait to continue this journey.

The Bergami Summer Internship Program is funded through the generosity of Board of Governors member – and former Board Chair – Sam Bergami ’85 EMBA, ’02 Hon. and his wife, Lois, and the Division of Student Affairs.