Name: Sara Somers
Major: Operations Management and Management double major with a minor in food and agribusiness marketing and management
Expected year of graduation: May 2015
Where are you interning? Food Bank of Delaware
How did you hear about your internship? I heard about the agriculture intern position from a friend and then looked at the posting on Blue Hen Careers. I wrote emails and sent resumes to various people at the Food Bank of Delaware and was able to come in the following week to interview and eventually accepted the position!
What are your responsibilities as an intern?
I manage a produce plot at Penn Farm, which is a farm overlooked by Delaware Greenways. The food bank of Delaware has about 15 rows on the ¼ acre produce plot. I manage and work with volunteers twice a week to do work on the garden, including planting, maintenance, and harvesting. I am also responsible for the produce getting from the field to clean in the food bank fridge to be ready to go out for hunger relief programs. This year marks the first year of this specific program and project, so it has also been an experimental year.
So far, what is your favorite thing about your internship?
Before I started the internship, I had not grown many vegetables or foods before. I have learned a lot about gardening and caring for fresh produce. I also love having all different types of people come out to help on the produce plot, and having them enjoy their time volunteering to help the less fortunate.
As a management and operations management major, what is one thing you can take away from your internship and apply to your classes here at the University of Delaware?
Managing volunteers has helped me learn how to balance different types of people and realize that certain volunteers are better at different things, which will help me in the workplace with ensuring employee satisfaction. This internship relates to operations because I had to find the most cost and time efficient ways of planting and harvesting the produce. Since we are a non-profit, being sustainable and cost efficient is very important.
What is something unexpected that happened during or came out of your internship experience so far?
Farming is very unpredictable. We have had instances where 100 seed plantings have washed away, but also instances where a certain vegetable has given us multiple, healthy harvests. Early on in the summer, I was worried that we would not have enough volunteers, and there were days where my supervisor and I would be working for 6 hours to get everything planted. Mid-summer, I started getting over 10 volunteers a shift, and did not expect people to be so enthusiastic and willing to help! I am happy with how things are turning out, no matter what twists there are along the way.
Any words of career wisdom that you would like to share? Any advice for the next intern?
To be happy with my career position, I want to know I am making a positive difference and would do it even for a lower pay. This summer, I was planning to intern all day in an operations position, making money to pay back school expenses. However, the most logical decision won’t always have the biggest impact on your life. Volunteering my time as an intern for something I am passionate about, farming and helping those who don’t have as fortunate of a life as I do, has taught me a different set of skills than a typical job in my career path would have. Though I want to make a decent amount of money in the future to well support myself and to be able to enjoy the world, I never want people to forget that most of the world needs us fortunate people to help them. Actually, I think helping others does more service for me than it does for them!