From the first steps in implementing a research project to educating the public through workshops and field days, the first cohort of University of Maryland Extension (UME) interns completed the Workforce Development & Extension Internship, experiencing first-hand the land-grant mission of research and community outreach.
Working with county agents and statewide specialists, seven UME interns participated in hands-on field research, data collection and interpretation, and community outreach and education beginning May 31. The ten week program selected the students from local educational institutions including St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Institute of Applied Agriculture at the University of Maryland, University of Maryland College Park, Morgan State University, College of Southern Maryland, and Salisbury University.
“When I was 10 years old in 4-H, I didn’t really know what Extension was,” said Brian Wathen, recent graduate of the College of Southern Maryland, during closing ceremonies held on Aug. 3 at the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District in Upper Marlboro, Md. “This internship really opened my eyes to what Extension is all about.”
Students worked with mentors in various roles to experience the full scope and variety of agricultural careers in Maryland. The charter class took on current research in trending topics like hemp production, cover crops, and field evaluation with precision ag technology like drones.
“I gained experience with problem solving in the field and dealing with whatever comes your way,” said Kendell Weingard, a senior at Salisbury University. “I gained different experiences through collaborations with other Extension agents and specialists. I got to do things in agriculture that I never even thought about.”
UME has offices in every county and Baltimore City to provide Marylanders with the knowledge they need to grow local businesses, and live healthy, sustainable lives through educational programs and opportunities in agriculture, 4-H and youth development, environment and natural resources, and family and consumer sciences.
“I was interested to see what happens when research is complete,” said Grace Tisone, a junior at UMD College Park. “This internship showed how things come full circle in Extension.”
“This is a portal for people to access university knowledge. You can develop educational programs others will appreciate, and really engage with communities,” said Dean Craig Beyrouty of the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “What you learn in Extension multiplies everywhere else.”
To learn more about all of the student interns and the projects they worked on, check out the blogs of their experience at https://umextensioninternshlps.blogspot.com/. To learn more about the Workforce Development and Extension Internship, go to https://extension.umd.edu/resource/workforce-development-extension-internships.