Several Fort Valley State University plant science-biotechnology students are participating in summer internships for 2021. These professional opportunities allow some Wildcats to gain hands-on experience at institutions and organizations such as Texas A&M University, the City College of New York and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Missouri. Juniors April Bramble and Gabrielle Hayward and sophomore Tykera Moore are three of the 12 students taking advantage of learning new skills this summer.
Bramble, of Clayton County, is interning at the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. The organization supports transdisciplinary research and community projects that grow more resilient communities globally. Bramble’s duties involve serving on a sustainability Green Team.
These teams of students serve corporations, organizations, nonprofits, municipalities and community groups to address sustainability issues identified by host organizations. PSEG ISS provides training throughout the course of the program in core sustainability subjects, hands-on experience with sustainability skills, guidance in professional development and communication, and team building. Prior to starting her internship, Bramble said she looked forward to networking and building relationships.
“It is cool to meet new people and dive deeper into sustainability,” she said. Her internship began June 1 and will end Aug. 5. “The more I learn about agriculture and plant science, I realize it is a huge field that will keep growing,” she noted. Initially interested in becoming a doctor, Bramble is unsure where her future will take her, but she knows that she wants to give back to others. “I want to do something to help my community,” she declared.
Moore, who is from Mansfield, Texas, but currently lives in Atlanta, is interning at the University of California, Riverside. She is assisting a graduate student and Ph.D. professional in plant bioinformatics at the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology (IIGB). IIGB was established in 2000 to pioneer solutions for hunger, disease and environmental sustainability.
Prior to starting her internship, Moore looked forward to networking and discovering how she can induce bioinformatics with hemp. She desires to make plant-based medicine and grow organic fruits and vegetables, as well as medicinal plants and herbs.
“It is a great opportunity,” she said about the internship, which began June 21 and will end Aug. 27.
With a passion for women’s health, Moore works at a local CBD shop and aspires to become a biopharmaceutical scientist and botanist. An entrepreneur, she started her own business, Ty’s Pure Herbal Green, in December 2020. She sells wholesale products, as well as homemade organic products like lip balm and sanitizers.
Hayward, of Savannah, is interning at the University of Vermont. As part of the Research and Extension Experiential Undergraduate Learning Fellowship (REEU) program, she will gain an understanding of the specific application and potentials of industrial hemp and participate in hands-on projects with plants. Through the program, students investigate systems of agricultural sustainability and community development.
Hayward said plant science is a broad career field. “I want to be able to tap into plants, particularly hemp and cannabis, and treat health ailments holistically,” she noted. With many innovative ideas, the young scientist said what she is learning now will be stepping blocks for her future career. Her internship runs from July 7-28.
All three students encourage their peers to participate in internships. “All undergrads should partake in an internship at least once,” Hayward advised. “Get out of your comfort zone. It is pivotal for your future.”
She added, “I know everything is happening for a reason and helping me find my purpose. This program is a blessing to many students. FVSU College of Agriculture administration and faculty are going to make sure that students are prepared for success after graduation.”
Bramble said it is also essential that students participate in extracurricular activities. Moore added that the different experiences she has encountered helped her figure out what she wanted to do. “Agriculture is what keeps the world going,” Moore said. “A lot of people underestimate Fort Valley, so it is good that we have these opportunities to be in good competition with other colleagues who are trying to go for the same position. Companies like to see that you participated in internships and have work experience. It will help you be a better candidate in all your endeavors.”