By Grace Goodwin
Returning Friedman students will arrive back on campus this fall with a variety of new experiences under their belts. As the summer wanes, second-years provide insight into getting the most out of summer internships.
Second-year Friedman students are back to the books this semester with newfound experience, thanks to their summer internships. Forty-seven students pursued internships that were as varied as Friedman’s students themselves – working in policy (at the federal, state, and local levels), public relations, sustainability, humanitarian aid, private food companies, scientific and market research, grant-writing, and garden management – just to name a few. Friedman granted internship funding to 19 students to help them pursue their diverse goals.
Internships are one of the degree requirements for the Food Policy and Applied Nutrition (FPAN), Agriculture, Food and the Environment (AFE) and Nutrition Communication programs at Friedman. Students typically pursue internships during the summer between their first and second academic years, though it is possible to complete an internship at any time during the degree process.
For some students, this fall represents a “homecoming” as they return to Boston from internships far away, both domestic and international.
In the U.S., Washington, D.C. was a popular destination for policy students. Friedmanites worked in the nation’s capitol at institutions such as the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), the National WIC Association (NWICA), the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), and Nestlé’s Corporate Affairs Office. Three students spent the summer in New York City, working at Edible Schoolyard NYC, Action Against Hunger, and GrowNYC.
Nine internationally focused students were able to apply their skills abroad, in such locations as England, Ethiopia, India, Mali, and Switzerland.
Theresa McMenomy (AFE) traveled to Ethiopia to work with USAID/Ethiopia. She was largely based at the Save the Children office to take part in the implementation of the USAID-funded ENGINE Project (Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities). As part of the ENGINE project, Theresa worked with a poultry intervention.
“It was great going to the countryside to meet beneficiaries,” she said. “I met two families who are classified as Most Vulnerable Households (MVHHs) and received 12 chickens of improved breed. Now they are able to diversify their children’s diets and sell leftover eggs so they can send their kids to school…and save money.”
Others stayed in the Northeast this summer. Twenty-five students remained in Massachusetts, most of them working in downtown Boston. Boston area internships took place at Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Office of Health and Wellness, Tufts’ HNRCA, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Law and Policy Clinic, and a lobbying firm. Across the Charles River, students interned at Shape Up Somerville, The Union for Concerned Scientists and a nutrition start-up.
FPAN/MPH student Leah Ettman spent her summer as the Communications Intern for the Healthy Kids Out of School initiative at ChildObesity180, right around the corner from Friedman’s campus. Leah sharpened her health communication skills, and raved about her summer experience.
“I would not trade my internship experience for anything,” she said. “It was so rewarding to not only use the skills I learned in my first year at Friedman, but also to gain additional knowledge in the field. Working with an incredible group of people who are just as passionate and dedicated to the organization’s mission made going to work fun and meaningful.”
For entering students, securing a future internship may seem like a stressor, but there are numerous channels to aid the process. Associate Director of Student Affairs Lori Ioannone oversees the Internship Program and described some of the ways students landed this year’s 47 internships.
Some students found work through Friedman alumni, she said. Others with interest in particular organizations applied directly on their own. In some cases, organizations reached out to Ioannone, and she then posted the opportunities to students. Finally, some students found out about potential internships through other students’ internship presentations, which take place each fall.
On that note, returning students will present on their internship experiences on Thursdays from 12:15-1:15 PM in Jaharis 118, beginning September 25th through October 30th.
For students who have now completed their internships, remember to sit down with your advisor for a check-in, and submit your reports by September 22.
And – welcome back!
Grace Goodwin is a second-year FPAN student from Alexandria, VA. For her internship this summer, she worked with the Massachusetts Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program and has now perfected her swaddling technique.