- Author: Stephanie Collins
Internships are a proven way to gain relevant knowledge, skills, and experience while establishing important connections in the field. Learning doesn't just take place in the classroom — participating in internships can provide a wealth of benefits such as:
- Applying classroom learning in professional environments
- Gain exposure to a chosen field
- Establish critical networking connections
- Gain coveted work experience
DREC is partnering with a USDA program entitled: Water Resources Experiential Learning for USDA Careers. The strategic goal of this project is to measurably increase student research skills that ensure our national forests and private working lands are conserved, restored, and made more resilient to climate change, while simultaneously enhancing the sustainability of the Nation's water resources.
The internships provide an experiential approach to learning in the field of water resources and/or watershed management which helps students gain real-world experience in natural resource protection while developing new knowledge, skills, and abilities in problem-solving from a watershed perspective.
Mariana Gonzalez is currently interning at DREC. She is in her third year at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley Campus. She is working toward a bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in public administration.
During the internship, Mariana says she hopes to increase her overall knowledge in agricultural processes. She hopes to gain a deep understanding of agricultural research and its impacts. Mariana will be working with DREC's Farm Smart program and feels this will give her experience in working with K-12 students and developing K-12 curriculum. In all its programs, Farm Smart teaches about water, weather, sustainability and other natural resources. Through her duties in the Farm Smart program, Mariana will have the opportunity to help students develop an understanding of water and water resources through STEM activities. DREC staff will be working with Mariana to develop a capstone project that is multifaceted and serves as a culminating experience during the internship. As she explores her chosen topic in the area of water resources and management, she will be challenged to think critically and apply investigative skills.
Mariana helping kids with produce picked at the Farm Smart U-pick up garden.
With over 700 participants, 100 volunteers, and 19 organizations involved, the Farm-to-Preschool Festival was a huge success!
Nearly 125 local high school FFA students from Calexico, Imperial, Southwest, Holtville and Brawley high schools visited Farm Smart, located at the University of California Desert Research and Extension Center (UC DREC), in September for the first annual AgVenture Field Day. The program was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the work of Roberto Gonzalez, USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program Region Director for Southern California and AZ.
Presenters from the University of Arizona(UA)- Yuma, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the University of California Farm Smart exposed the students to potential careers in agricultural, opportunities for camps and internships, and availability of agricultural project loans. Tanya Hodges, Academic Programs Coordinator at UA-Yuma, and Beleshka Brenes, Director of Agriculture Programs at UA-Yuma, highlighted the USDA AgDiscovery program, a two-week summer camp for high school students interested in an agricultural career. UA-Yuma student and AgDiscovery intern, Armando Baranda, shared his experiences as a transfer student from Imperial Valley's junior college, Imperial Valley College(IVC), and his experience as an intern for the AgDiscovery program.
Students participants also learned about the different opportunities within the USDA. Rosa Singh, Executive Director of the USDA-FSA in Imperial County, Rogelio Araujo, Program Technician for USDA-FSA, and Marina Arballo, Program Technician for USDA-FSA, offered information about USDA youth loans for agricultural projects including fair animals and the internship opportunities within USDA.
Students then boarded hay wagons and were given a tour of UC DREC, including the research plots, feedlot, irrigation projects, information on Imperial County agriculture, and the top 10 commodities. Students finished the tour with honey tasting, colored carrot research and colored carrot tasting, and a nutrition lesson featuring smoothies and shaker salads.
Farm Smart staff and the UCANR Director, Jairo Diaz, sat down with long-term partners from the Imperial Irrigation Dirstrict (IID), Mike Pacheco and Tina Shields. This partnership has been fundamental to increase agriculture, STEM, and environmental literacy for California-Mexico-Arizona boarder citizens and visitors from around the world.
2018 California AG in the Classroom Conference
September 28-29 Palm Springs, CA
Have you been interested in finding new and exciting ways to bring food, fiber, flowers, and fuel into your learning environment? JOIN US for the 2018 California AG in the Classroom Conference. Through the generous donations of the Imperial County Farm Bureau, Imperial County Vegetable Growers Association, and Farm Credit Services Southwest there are a limited number of scholarships available to Imperial County Educators!
APPLICATIONS DUE: August 30, 2018 by 5:00PM
Conference scholarship is open to Pre-K -12th grade educators in Imperial County who want to find new and exciting ways to bring food, fiber, flowers, and fuel into the classroom.
SCHOLARSHIP WILL INCLUDE:
- The cost of registration for Sept 28-29, which includes meals, tours, and all presentations ($265).
- 1 night at the Renaissance Hotel– Marriot in Palm Springs, CA ($139 plus taxes and fees)
*Attendees are responsible for their own transportation*
Send all applications to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pre-K -12th grade teachers; all subject areas
- Currently teaching in an Imperial County School in the 2018-19 school year
- Interest in increasing comfort level when teaching about agriculture
- Submit an application of interest by August 30th at 5PM
- Commitment to identifying resources to integrate agriculture into core content and instruction
- Willing to present to fellow educators and sponsoring organization on how you will integrate agriculture into your classroom