Featured Extension Interns – Summer 2021

My CAHNR Summer: Extension Interns Share Their Experiences

UConn Extension is the premiere public engagement program at the University of Connecticut and our internships have transformed the lives of students for the past few years as they translate their experiences with us into careers. We had 16 students intern with Extension in the summer of 2021 and work 2,679 hours with Extension programs. A few of our students shared their experiences. 

Candelaria Alday

Candelaria AldayNutrition Education – Fairfield County Intern 

Hometown: Bethel, CT 

I have always been passionate about helping others improve their lifestyle with exercise and nutrition. After taking introductory nutrition courses freshmen and sophomore year, it developed my passion for nutrition even further. I was ready to get field experience to see if I could envision myself doing this as a career. This opportunity has really shown me what is beyond the doors of nutrition, and it has been amazing to witness how involved dietetic professionals are and how nutrition programs are integrated all within my own community.” 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/candelariaalday 

Colleen Brady

Colleen BradyUConn 4-H Windham County Intern 

Hometown: Ancramdale, NY 

Pursuing a STEM-related field myself, I was very interested in this internship opportunity in order to expose more kids to the exciting fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM often seems daunting to younger kids, especially young girls, and this internship seemed like a great way to impact the younger generation to make them understand that anyone can get involved in STEM and show them how much fun it can be. 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/colleenbrady 

Megan Davenport

Megan DavenportUConn 4-H Hartford County Intern 

Hometown: Woodbury, CT 

“I developed a passion for agricultural advocacy and leadership development early on and knew I wanted my career to reflect this interest. This internship allows me to learn how to teach various age groups of students as well as students from various backgrounds and levels of experience in agriculture. Overall, the ability to connect and work with 4-H students while also providing a nurturing and resourceful environment for them to grow and thrive as young agricultural and community leaders was a perfect career opportunity for a future teacher like me.” 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/megandavenport 

Monique Mazaika

Monique MazaikaUConn 4-H New Haven County Intern 

Hometown: Livermore, CA 

“I was interested in this opportunity because it aligns with my interest in community nutrition, which allows me to practice skills that I have been learning in the Dietetics Coordinated Program and that I will use after graduation. Additionally, it is an amazing opportunity to network and grow as a future nutrition educator.” 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/moniquemazaika 


Khadija Shaikh

KhadijaConnecticut Trail Census Intern – New Haven and Middlesex Counties 

Hometown: Charlotte, NC 

Shaikh is passionate about social justice issues related to climate change. As a BIPOC woman, she is committed to showing that anyone can be an environmentalist and that environmental issues often take a disproportionate toll on communities of color. 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/khadijashaikh 

Marlena Takes

Marlena TakesOne Health Intern – Storrs Campus/Windham County 

Hometown: Tolland, CT 

“Takes is helping develop a website to disseminate One Health information to the community. This information includes guidance on interacting with animals and food safety. She says this internship has helped her learn and practice how to make scientific information accessible to the general public. She looked to models like the CDC’s website for inspiration about how to present key One Health information.” 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/marlenatakes 

Sara Tomis

Sara TomisUConn 4-H New London County Intern 

Hometown: Preston, CT 

Through her internship experiences, Tomis is crafting education materials for children as young as four years-old to adult professionals and consumers. Each demographic comes with their own needs and challenges for a communicator. 

Learn more at s.uconn.edu/saratomis