Oct. 1, 2015

Summer interns enhance life in New York communities

Intern reception
Mark Vorreuter
Dana Larsen '16, left, discusses aspects of her nutrition research at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Summer Internship Reception Sept. 29.
Lauren Poindexter '16, left, describes her work at The Wild Harvest Table Project to Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett, at the the CCE Summer Internship Reception Sept. 29.
Jason Koski/University Photography
After spending her summer at Buffalo's Darwin Martin House, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Adeline Bakewell '16, center, talks to the historic home's horticulturalist Nellie Gardner, right, and Kelsey Kruse '16 at the CaRDI forum Sept. 30.

From Buffalo to Long Island, the North Country to the Southern Tier, Cornell undergraduates – serving as interns – spent their summer enhancing life in New York.

Working in two programs connected to the College of Human Ecology and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), more than 40 students conducted wide-ranging research on invasive species, improving rural food opportunities, bolstering parental education, enhancing food safety at yogurt producers, sparking scientific interest among summer camp girls, and renewing the landscape at a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house.

“We know that knowledge is gained in the classroom. We know that knowledge is gained in the laboratory. But it is increasingly evident to all of us that personal experiences – that allow hands-on learning – really contribute deeply to knowledge acquisition,” said Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences, speaking at the Cornell Cooperative Extension internship reception Sept. 29. “And that’s why – so very clearly – this innovative program is so important,” she said.

Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of Human Ecology, noted that the philosophies of his college and that of CALS are a great fit for the internships. “What I love about this … is to see the mission statements of Human Ecology and CALS really alive,” he said. “It makes for great partnership and great collaboration.”

The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Summer Internship Program, run jointly by faculty and staff in Human Ecology, CALS, and CCE offices throughout the state, employed 28 Cornell undergraduates this past summer, and the students blogged about their experiences.

Luciana Madison ’17, working in Jefferson County, developed best practices and resources in parenting education, and she will publish a resource guide this month. Chloe Collins ’16 engaged summer camp girls in STEM by way of clothing design. Beining Niu ’16 took an inventory of food resources in rural communities to improve health.

Among the 18 students working with the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), eight were placed with the CALS New York State internship program, which is designed to provide career-related experience and foster civic engagement. The program embodies Cornell’s commitment to strengthening New York’s competitive edge and enhancing community vitality.

At the CALS New York State internship forum Sept. 30, students gave presentations of their wide range of summer work. Kendra Ellis ’16 worked as an agricultural production analyst and field hand intern at Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Ulster County, researching migrant farmworkers – mostly Latino immigrants – and their opportunities for integration into the regional community. Kevin Kreher ’16 worked with the CCE Genesee County to survey the use of precision agriculture technology, such as GPS and drones, to manage crops. Adeline Bakewell ’16 used her skills in natural resources, plant science and landscape architecture to enhance the grounds at Buffalo’s Darwin Martin House, a Frank Lloyd Wright design, built in 1903.

“Our projects truly make a difference in our state’s communities. I appreciate the significant contributions of each and every one of our interns,” Boor said. “Those contributions that they made help our university fulfill our land-grant mission. Your efforts put our ‘knowledge with public purpose’ [mission] into action.”