U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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COSTEP & Summer Extern Internship Program


Picture of COSTEP Andrew Patterson    
Summer Extern
Computer Specialist
Todd Bollinger
"I am gaining invaluable career experience while working in a professional atmosphere."

Todd Bollinger

My Internship Experience

This is my second summer internship experience with the Division of Facilities Operations or DFO for short. I’m Todd Bollinger a Penn State York student living in Spring Grove, PA while pursuing a Baccalaureate degree in Information Science and Technology. I have experience developing websites and databases with the occasional fixing of small computer problems.

My first internship last summer was a very brief one month internship. I was glad to come back this summer to gain more experience working in a professional environment over a longer period.

During this internship, I have:
  • Coordinated the improvement of the realty section on the DFO website,
  • Organized the IHS Technical Handbook into folder sections,
  • Transformed the DFO network hard drive’s folder structure to a new folder structure,
  • Visited health facilities in New Mexico and Arizona,
  • Developed the web based Tribal General Equipment Funds Request System (ERDS), and
  • Outlined a CO-STEP and Extern informational web page for the DFO website.

Last summer, I developed the DFO website in one month. One of my main tasks this summer was to maintain the website by adding documents and other web pages. The improvement to the DFO website realty section took several rounds of communication with several Area Offices using e-mail and phone calls. The resulting feedback helped in adding several new forms, templates, and converting forms into fillable PDF forms.

I was also in charge of organizing the IHS Technical Handbook. This handbook is used as a guide for field personnel. I sorted through a pile of papers that were different revisions of the handbook. I was able organize the drafts and approved final versions of sections into folders organized by section, but I ran out of time on compiling a report on what the status of the sections are in along the revision path.

I have been also responsible for supervising and directing the transformation of folder structure on the DFO data network hard drive. The goal is to be able to find files easier on the DFO data network hard drive. The old structure had files in it that no one knew what or where they were located. A new folder structure was proposed and approved by the DFO staff. I then implemented the move to the new folder structure by archiving the old folder structure with files and replacing the old folder structure with the new folder structure. I was controlling what new folders are created, to reduce the possibility of untidiness, as staff relocated files to the new folder structure.

The biggest surprise I had this summer was visiting the health facilities in New Mexico and Arizona. I went on this trip with another Intern Andrew Patterson and the experienced Captain Kevin Stover. We flew into Albuquerque, New Mexico and drove a rental car to the different health facilities on Native American Reservations. Our trip made a big loop over the northwest of New Mexico and into the northeast of Arizona. At each facility, we were giving a tour of the facility by the facility manager or other facility staff members.

Trip Observations
  • The temperature is high but the humidity is very low which turned out to be comfortable weather.
  • There are trees in New Mexico in higher elevations.
  • Every town or city in New Mexico has a different building architecture.
  • 80 mph feels like 55 mph and 55 mph feels like 35 mph
  • New Mexican cuisine is spicy but good.
  • I understand clearly about what Headquarters does for the Area offices and facilities.
  • I can put a face to the names I have come across and I know that my work at Headquarters will help people that I have met or seen.
  • I will definitely come back another day.

The biggest project I had this summer was developing the web based Tribal General Equipment Funds Request System or ERDS with fellow Intern Andrew Patterson. The goal of the project was to eliminate the paper form Tribes had to fill out to request for equipment funds while adding a lot of functionality to the process. We put the system through rigorous testing cycles while getting usability feedback from Area Offices.

The last task I worked on this summer was developing the CO-STEP and Extern informational web page for the DFO website. I was hoping to release this web page before I left, but I was able to complete a page structure ready for information content.

I would recommend to anyone looking for an Internship to look at one with the Indian Health Services. I have had nothing but outstanding experiences working with the fine professionals during my internship with DFO.

I would like to thank all of the staff of DFO for this opportunely and I hope to see everyone next summer!


  Please e-mail questions and comments to the DFO website administrator DFOwebadmin@na.ihs.gov.