Sept. 26, 2013

Summer interns present research at poster session

Rachel Blomberg
Robert Barker/University Photography
Rachel Blomberg '14 presents her summer research on leveraging the locavore movement at a Cornell Cooperative Extension Summer Internship Program poster session Sept. 24 in Statler Hall.
Helene Dillard
Robert Barker/University Photography
Helene Dillard, director of Cornell Cooperative Extension speaks during the poster session reception.

This past summer, 26 students from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and of Human Ecology conducted an array of research and outreach throughout New York state. Their topics ranged from climate change communication and use of social media and technology to field crops nutrient management.

In a presentation of their results at a Cornell Cooperative Extension Summer Internship Program poster session Sept. 24 in Statler Hall, Pawan Angara ’16, for example, who teamed with David Wolfe, professor of horticulture, said he focused on communicating the effects of climate change to New York youth and adults. He drafted responses to frequently asked questions for the New York Cornell Climate Change website as well as climate change 4-H activities for youth to introduce the issues of global warming at a young age. “I gained skills in professionalism, communication and teamwork,” Angara said.

Jamie Blum '16 worked on the PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) Partnership Model, which specializes in evidence-based programs that reduce risky youth behaviors, enhance positive youth development and strengthen families. Working in the Livingston County Cooperative Extension Office, Blum focused on community outreach and recruitment.

In a project geared toward teaching healthy eating habits to 8- to 12-year-olds, Hannah Swartz ’13 worked on nutritional science research associate Wendy Wolfe’s “Choose Health: Food, Fun and Fitness” (CHFFF) program. Swartz completed an evaluation of the program, traveling the state with postdoctoral associate Laura Thomas and organizing 12 focus groups in five counties with youth who had just participated in a CHFFF lesson.

Swartz, along with a number of fellow interns, plans to continue her internship this semester: “This fall, I’m working on revising the curriculum and writing a report for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. … There are certain things that could be more age appropriate and engaging.”

Many students remarked that the most satisfying aspect of their summer internships was the outreach interactions, particularly with youth. Eric Beaudette ’16 worked with Huiju Park, assistant professor of fiber science and apparel design, in arranging Park’s research on active wear (sports and fitness clothing) into educational resources for youth. Beaudette expressed his excitement about paving the way for younger students. “We really wanted to show kids that there were career opportunities in a realm that maybe kids haven’t thought of before,” he said.

Since 2007, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Summer Internship Program has engaged students in research and outreach. Faculty and staff from CALS and Human Ecology team with educators from Cornell Cooperative Extension offices to apply Cornell’s resources to state and national needs.

Scott Goldberg ’16 is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.