University of Wisconsin Survey Center

Internship Location: Remote

Organization Type: Federal and State Government

Policy Areas: Health/Social Welfare/Technology

Working as a telephone interviewer for the University of Wisconsin Survey Center, I have learned a lot about data collection and research, specifically relating to a general health study conducted by Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. In this position, I work as an interviewer calling people to complete studies over the phone. The main study that I work on, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (or BRFSS), has been running since the 1980s and currently operates in every state and territory in the United States. The study collects data about the health habits of Americans which is then used to inform policy decisions, development of health programs, allocation of tax dollars, and much more.  It is rewarding to know that the work I am doing will be used to help people across the nation in so many different ways. In addition, this position has built my confidence in ways I never could have imagined. Speaking to strangers on the phone was strange at first, but it has ultimately helped me become more comfortable in myself and greatly increased my communication skills. Also, working with the general public has allowed me to become more patient and understanding. Finally, I have gained hands on experience in and a strong understanding of research methods. I have learned the ins and outs of how data is collected and why it is done the way it is.