Urban Farm and CIRTA
I found both of my internship opportunities with resources from the Environmental Fellows Program. The urban farm opportunity was listed in our Environment and Sustainability Bulletin we receive on a bi-weekly basis. I was able to secure my internship with CIRTA by networking with an Environmental Fellow alumna who connected me with my soon-to-be supervisor.
Both internships required a different skill set, but I was able to cultivate a corresponding variety of experiential learning. While interning with Mad Farmers Collective, I planted a variety of crops by hand, covered and uncovered beds, prepared beds for planting, harvested an assortment of vegetables, prepared vegetables for selling, weeded, moved compost, cleared out vegetables that were finished for the season, sold vegetables at the farmers’ market, and much more. During my work, I discussed the ideas of buying local produce and the significance of striving for “beyond organic” agriculture with my supervisors. The work was physically demanding but highly satisfying and wholesome.
The internship with CIRTA had a different learning curve and required a different skill set. I spent much of my time with two software programs. Major projects included coding routes of transit services into GTFS or General Transit Feed Specification for Google, which required an abnormally large spreadsheet. I coded 14 public transit routes and corresponding arrival/departure times for several locations in the surrounding counties of Indianapolis. I also made maps and did financial analysis with QGIS or Quantum GIS software. I would layer different vector data to determine land value along a route to determine if there was enough value to render a commuter service. I also attended any meeting my supervisor had scheduled. I was grateful for this experience for a number of reasons but mostly because it encouraged me to pursue career options in public transportation.
I gained skills in data management, Quantum GIS, General Transit Feed Specification, and organic farming practices. The most valuable part of my experience with both internships was the chance to discuss environmental issues with my supervisors. Additionally, I now have multiple connections in Indianapolis. I accomplished my goals of expanding my network and determining if there is a space for me in urban planning with my environmental biology background. If I could give any advice to current or future students, it would be to take the chance to expand your network beyond campus if you can.