Summer 2022 Intern Spotlights

Summer 2022: 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. Our students shared their experiences. 

Courtney Andreozzi

Fun Facts

  • I have a twin sister! Not only do we not look much alike, but our personalities have proven to be very different. She is studying Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida, Go Knights!
  • I'd love to shoutout Emily Wilson, my supervisor for this internship. She has proven to be a compassionate and understanding person who has inspired me greatly in the short time I've known her, and who I'd love to keep in touch with past graduation.

Courtney Andreozzi

CT Trail Finder GIS Intern | Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, '22 CLAS

This internship represents an extension of work that I have done this past school year, working on adding the trails belonging to Joshua's Trust to CT Trailfinder. The site itself and the groups in charge of running it share a lot of ideals that are important to me; I grew up using local trail systems, and through my love of GIS it presented itself as a perfect way to help people in Connecticut find trail systems they can use while also learning more about GIS. The best part of my internship so far is that I've been able to meet so many intelligent and kind people who are interested in the environment, and whose passions present as a variety of professional positions. This is really the first time I have been able to meet a collection of people who are working in field's I am interested in, and who apply things that I have learned at UConn in their job's every day.

This internship has really helped me develop some potential career ideas and goals that I will be able to work towards past graduation, as well as allowed me to make personal and professional connections with people that I may be able to work for or with in my future endeavors.

Abigail Bar

Fun Facts

  • I can solve a Rubiks cube.

Abigail Bar

Environmental Education Intern | Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Applied Mathematics, '23 CLAS

I wanted to pursue this internship because I am very passionate about environmental conservation, and I believe education is an important aspect of making a positive difference in the community and in the world. So far being able to have real input on what I would like to teach and what should be taught in the class has made me feel that this internship will be a highly engaging and beneficial opportunity. I am looking to go into environmental conservation, so I will be able to explore topics related to my field, and also gain experience with teaching, something that I am considering in a career out of college.

Brooke Bosco

Fun Facts

  • When I was 15, I had a reconstruction surgery on my knee in which they used a ligament from a cadaver to stabilize my kneecap!
  • I am so ecstatic to be able to work with UConn School and Family SNAP-Ed this summer! Check out UConn Healthy Family CT's website (https://healthyfamilyct.cahnr.uconn.edu/) and social media accounts with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for fact-based food and nutrition information.

Brooke Bosco

School and Family SNAP-Ed Intern | Major: Dietetics, '23 CAHNR

I developed an interest in community nutrition during my supervised practice training this past spring semester in the Dietetics Coordinated Program. Nutrition education is so important in low-income communities because it helps to prevent nutrition-related health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. These health issues can create even more hardship and financial burden for this community. I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to be a part of SNAP-Ed's effort in helping income-challenged families to make healthier choices.

I have enjoyed providing nutrition education in many different areas of the community. So far I have been to elementary schools, senior centers, public libraries, community events, food pantries, and Foodshare mobile stops. It has been so wonderful to be able to connect with members of the community and educate them on how they can make healthier choices.

This internship will help me to develop many skills that will be useful in my future career as a Registered Dietician. By interacting with and educating members of the community, I am developing my communication and teaching skills. By creating content for UConn Healthy Family CT's website and social media pages, I'm developing my research and writing skills. By collaborating with other SNAP-Ed team members, I'm developing interpersonal skills.

Jillian Bowen

Fun Facts

  • I used to collect pocket watches, and at my peak I owned over 20 of them!
  • I'm a little obsessed with sheep. My high school had a flock that I helped look after, and I'm currently a part of a lab centered around sheep nutrition, so if anyone wants to discuss sheep with me I am all ears.

Jillian Bowen

One Health Intern | Major: Pathobiology, '25 CAHNR

One Health is the perfect amalgamation of all of my interests - I was a part of the National FFA Organization in high school, and that's where I developed an enthusiasm for animal science, public health, and pathology. Taking my first pathobiology class introduced me to One Health, and immediately I was hooked. Being able to educate kids about this concept - while also learning a thing or two myself, AND getting paid for it - is a dream!

I love being able to put together the lesson plans for 4-H. I am interested in going into agricultural education and love educating people about my interests, so putting together presentations and activities for kids about topics I am passionate about is so fun and fulfilling.

This internship is allowing me to get acquainted with a lot of hot button One Health issues, so I can be exposed to many areas of research and find what interests me the most. In addition, I'm getting experience making lesson plans and coming up with programs for kids, which will be invaluable should I go into agricultural education.

 Cade Buckheit

Fun Facts

  • I love the idea of camping but have never been.

Cade Buckheit

UConn 4-H Middlesex County Intern | Major: Social Work, '23 SSW

I was initially attracted to 4-H and UConn extension because of the way it engages and interacts with youth. This year, I returned to this internship for a second year because of the amazing experience I had last year and the wonderful people I have become acquainted with. I have loved interacting with the kids, especially when I got the chance to visit the 4-H Horse Camp a few weeks ago. I loved meeting the 4-Hers and their horses, and I even got to learn a bit about how to handle a horse, which I have never done before!

This internship teaches me how to succeed in a professional environment, and to complete projects and tasks with minimal supervision. I have learned leadership skills, how to engage in the community, and I have learned a lot from working alongside my supervisor. Most importantly, this internship has introduced me to 4-H. This program is a successful implementation of a broad and sustainable social program. Remarkably, it combines academics and recreation, tradition and innovation, and is centered on a relational, community and family-based model. As a social worker, 4-H is inspiring to me, and has taught me what works and what doesn't.

Emilie Caron

Fun Facts

  • I love to go on hikes with my dog!
  • I am also in Sigma Alpha and I recently graduated from UConn's Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture with my associates degree in Animal Science!

Emilie Caron

UConn 4-H Hartford County Intern | Major: Agriculture and Natural Resources, '24 CAHNR

I wanted this internship because like many, I was in 4-H and FFA throughout high school and I wanted another outlet to get myself involved with youth outreach and programming. I got some experience through helping out at summer horse camp at my previous job.

The best part has been working with the Pollinator kids on their Garden for the 4-H Pollinator Program at Auerfarm! It has been super educational for myself and I especially enjoyed learning about all things pollinator related! I plan on becoming an Agricultural Educator in the future. This internship will help me gain more community outreach skills especially when it comes to programming and leading youth.

 Margot Drummey

Fun Facts

  • I love to rock climb!

Margot Drummey

UConn "Woods Talk" Intern | Major: Linguistics, '23 CLAS

I am passionate about documentary filmmaking and videography so I was eager to take on a role that allowed me to film and edit academic and educational material. Also, I love the outdoors and was excited to find an opportunity to work in nature and learn about forestry in a hands-on setting. I have already learned so much about dendrology, plant identification, and the forest as a vital ecosystem, which has truly changed the way I navigate and understand nature in my own life! I also feel really proud of the work we have done with ASCC and the role that this research will serve in adapting forests to climate change.

This internship has provided me with many technical videography skills including shooting, interviewing, and editing. Additionally, this internship has given me incredible experience in working collaboratively on projects which I feel will be an essential skill for any career path.

Samuel Kocurek

Fun Facts

  • I also work at the Office of Sustainability on campus and as a Resident Assistant.
  • My friends and I play Settlers of Catan almost every weekend during the semester.

Samuel Kocurek

Ecotypic Seed Supply Chain Intern – Majors: Mathematics and Environmental Science – ’23 CLAS

I truly believe in developing a personal relationship with the land. So when I saw UConn Extension offering this internship I was immediately hooked. With this work, I am aiding a professor and doctoral student in developing an ecotypic seed supply chain to revegetate highway roadsides with native plants. Ecotypic seed refers to native plant ecotypes that are grown and processed here in New England. It results in better erosion control, better pollinator health, greater plant longevity, less invasive plants… the list goes on about the benefits of using native plants.

I am also learning about mowing patterns and how we can best mow for pollinators and native plants. Although not an initial interest of mine, I have been taken aback by how much reducing our mowing can benefit the land. As I drive along the highways now, I am particularly aware of all the beautiful plants and wildflowers that have proliferated due to reduced mowing. We use our roads every day, traveling at high speeds turning the landscape into a blur. Having the opportunity to make our drives more ecologically authentic for ourselves, pollinators, and wildlife has been extremely meaningful. I am learning so much about the land we inhabit and about the beautiful plants that we often take for granted.

 Kate O’Brien

Fun Facts

  • Many of my family members have attended UConn, and currently my sister and two of my cousins are students at the Storrs campus with me!

Kate O’Brien

Clinical Outpatient/Community Nutrition Intern | Major: Nutritional Sciences, '23 CAHNR

I chose this internship because I was excited about the opportunity to work in the clinical field at the Connecticut Children's Genetics Clinic. I also love working in community nutrition, especially teaching nutrition education to children/ teens. My passion is working with kids, but this internship gave me to the chance to explore working with specialty audiences such as kids with metabolic disorders in the clinic and young adults with disabilities at Auerfarm.

The best part of this internship so far has been working with my supervisor, Sherry Gray, in the many facets of nutrition she works in. It is inspiring for me to see how many programs a dietitian can be involved in and has given me an idea of the career I want to pursue in the future. I have had the opportunity to work with Connecticut Children's, EFNEP, and Auerfarm which has given me a wide variety of connections, audiences, and experiences. In the clinic, I have been able to observe patient appointments, practice creating formula recipes, and gain an understanding of how specific diets act as treatment for metabolic disorders. With the EFNEP educators, I have created curriculum and helped teach classes. At Auerfarm later this summer, I will be teaching nutrition education and food safety to high school transition students with disabilities in order to help them develop skills to use in future careers and daily life.

During this internship, I have been given a wide variety of experiences working with different partners such as Connecticut Children's, Auerfarm, and EFNEP. It has given me connections with many nutrition professionals that have offered insight into their own experiences of getting into their respective nutrition related career paths.

Naiiya Patel

Fun Facts

  • I am afraid of birds!
  • There are plenty of Extension internships for anyone at UConn who is interested. I thought coming from the School of Business that I would not be able to integrate as easily with the Extension Office but the internships focus on different skills that are perfect for those outside the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. This internship has been a great way for me to get out of my comfort zone and learn so much!

Naiiya Patel

Financial Literacy for Youth and Young Adults Intern | Major: Accounting, '25 Business

I originally wanted to pursue this internship because I was looking for an opportunity this summer to learn how to navigate a real work environment. I wanted to work on my communication, marketing, and leadership skills. I thought this internship perfectly incorporated skills that I have been developing at UConn and allowed me to utilize them in the real world.

The best part of my internship experience so far has been the ability to go out into the community and teach our financial literacy workshops. On June 2nd, I got to attend to the Chelsea Groton Money Madness Exhibition at Connecticut College. It was a great opportunity to teach high school students on the importance of saving money and promote the Connecticut Saves pledge. I enjoyed speaking to the students and getting to watch educational programs on Identity Theft/Cyber Crime, Investing, and Budgeting.

This internship will help me in my future career through all the leadership experience I have gained alongside the networking opportunities it has provided me. Working independently on different social media and educational projects under the supervision of Ms. Griffiths-Smith has been a great way to learn how to take initiative and how to communicate my needs. Working in the office, I got to reach out to different Extension Educators in the New Haven County Extension Office and learn about their work in the community. I loved getting to hear about the variety of programs that Extension provides and making contacts for the future.

 Genesis Rosario

Fun Facts

  • Most people don't know I use to ride dirt bikes growing up! I loved doing wheelies!

  • I recently got admitted into UConn's 4+1 Fast Track M.P.H program. I will be earning my Bachelors of Allied Health Sciences and minor in Human and Family Development in the Spring of 2024, while earning my Masters in Public Health by Spring of 2025!

  • Also, I love sea otters!

Genesis Rosario

UConn 4-H New Haven County Intern | Major: Allied Health Sciences, '24 CAHNR

As a first generation student I was not shown the blueprints of professionalism in a work setting or the best communication skills at a young age. I am learning throughout my undergraduate studies that these interpersonal skills can be learned through internships and in-person experience amongst experienced individuals. My desire to learn and grow beyond the barriers of my upbringing is what makes my passion for the 4-H New Haven County Extension internship so unique. My supervisor, Margaret Grillo, has shown me how to use office tasks such as printing, emailing, and copying skills as an advantage of working in a professional setting in which I can use for future experiences. I wanted to ask more questions and become comfortable with acknowledging what I don't know, so that in the future I can grasp onto any task without discomfort and figure it out independently using background knowledge.

The best part of the 4-H New Haven County UConn Extension internship so far is both working with my supervisor and other interns through both in-person and virtual meetings. Given that there has been a pandemic that has transitioned many work lives to virtual work, this internship has given me the opportunity to balance out virtual and in-person work while still making progress with my projects. Working at New Haven County's UConn Extension offie has also introduced me to EF-NEP, a federal Extension program that serves to be consistent and check in on participants who are looking to make changes to their eating/daily habits. I was a part of Husky Reads this past spring semester, a Snap-Ed based program, where I was able to go into pre school classrooms to discover and share the different nutritional benefits of eating healthy. With working with 4-H, I can also find ways to introduce EF-NEP to communities in the New Haven County and help network that program to families who need the assistance. Leading by example is very effective, so if an adult can start a dietary plan with EF-NEP then their child might be interested as well.

The 4-H New Haven County UConn Extension internship will build a structure for my professional development as I grow in my undergraduate career and work with other employers in the future. Employers will focus on the way I communicate, take initiative, and ask questions; but, I want to focus on being authentic and unapologetic about my progress as an intern. With consistent communication, my supervisor has reminded me to give myself credit for completing tasks and solely being myself. 4-H works with families, so being a human first is what matters the most.

Reilly Stiefel

Fun Facts

  • I am passionate about scientific illustration and often draw plants and insects that I see around my house as practice.

Reilly Stiefel

Vegetable Entomology Intern | Major: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems, '24 CLAS & CAHNR

I hope one day to work researching ecology and sharing that research with the public and this internship's focus on entomology in a specific ecosystem as well as outreach programs almost fits too well with that plan. I also took a course in general entomology in Fall 2021 and found a previously unknown fascination with insects that this internship will allow me to dive deeply into. So far the creative process behind designing activities for Bug Week has been super exciting. I love coming up with crafts and recipes and getting to try them out and tweak everything until it is perfect and easily translated to an online format.

Through networking with professionals in the fields of entomology and ecology and learning skills that will be necessary for me to be able to complete research in the future, this internship will greatly help to prepare me to work in the field.

Heather Wirth

Fun Facts

  • I have a miniature horse named Mystery.
  • I am a member of the UConn Dairy Club.

Heather Wirth

UConn 4-H Tolland County Food Revolution Intern | Major: Environmental Studies, '23 CAHNR

I wanted to pursue the Tolland County 4-H Food Revolution program because I am passionate about environmental topics, food production, sustainability, and healthy living habits. This program gave me the opportunity to take my personal interest in the topics as apply it to an educational program for the youth. Creating a program designed to spark interest in kids getting outdoors to experience hands on learning was a dream of mine. This internship has allowed me to plan and execute an educational enrichment program for children. I was also curious to purse this internship because I was also interested in getting involved with the 4-H community.

The best part about my internship experience so far has been planning the curriculum for the Food Revolution program that will be taking place this July. It's been a lot of fun creating hands on activities that promote learning in various environmental topics for the kids. Another aspect of the internship that I have enjoyed so far was sitting in on the fair board meeting for the Tolland County 4-H fair board committee, as well as the meeting for the youth fair board committee.

This internship will help me in my future career by creating a foundation for my professional skills, communication skills, as well as important interpersonal development. I am eager to make connections in the field. One goal for myself personally during this internship is to gain more confidence in myself and to come out of my shell a bit. This internship opened up insight to a career field and job opportunities that I didn't realize were out there until I found them.

Michael Wolf

Fun Facts

  • Despite my love for my cows, my favorite animals are actually penguins.

Michael Wolf

Marketing Intern | Major: Applied and Resource Economics, '23 CAHNR

Extension has been involved in my life since I started my time with 4-H twelve years ago. This is what sparked my interest in spending my summer combining my passion for agriculture with my love of UConn Extension. Working along side Stacey Stearns and Vickie Wallace to grow my network through the various projects I am working on has introduced me to many new aspects of agriculture. Growing up on my family dairy farm I was exposed to many different industries in agriculture, and through my time in FFA I was able to expand my passions even more. Extension so far has only continued to grow my exposure and interest in all of the areas of agriculture, marketing, and outreach.

In high school I was given the opportunity to compete in the Ag Marketing CDE through FFA. I was fortunate enough to place silver at the national level which is where my interest in business marketing started. This avenue allows me to combine my love for communication and business. My internship with Extension provides me with many real life experiences working with clients and the UConn community which I will use in my future career.

 Jenna Zydanowicz

Fun Facts

  • I am on the UConn Cross Country and Track and Field team.

Jenna Zydanowicz

Nutrition SNAP-Ed Intern | Major: Allied Health Sciences, '24 CAHNR

I wanted to pursue this internship because of the experiences and opportunities it allows to be able to find a career I am interested in. This program assesses, develops, implements, and evaluates tailored direct nutrition to SNAP recipients and eligibles at multiple diverse sites in numerous CT towns. I love working with the community and have a passion for nutrition. I have learned the importance of educating others, and how it impacts our health. There are lower-income families that may not have the resources or education to know how to properly feed their families. If we have the chance to help with this worldwide problem one town at a time I want to be a part of that change.

The best part of my experience is being able to engage and connect to the community. It has allowed us to give resources and information to those in need with nutrition education in preventing obesity, increasing diet quality, and increasing knowledge and skills of healthier diets. A lot of the communities we work with are low-income, so being able to provide nutritious low-cost meals is so important. We work with a lot of different age groups which is also very fun because nutrition is important in all stages of life.

I am interested in working with community outreach programs and nutrition in the future, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I loved the nutrition classes I have taken so far at UConn and wanted to develop a deeper understanding of how important nutrition is. Also, being able to explore the different career options and aspects of nutrition you don't always think about.