Meet Our UConn Extension Summer Interns for 2020
UConn Extension has an internship program every summer where UConn undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with our programs. The internships provide valuable career experience for the students and help Extension further our mission and increase our impact. Interns work across all programs related to the CAHNR strategic initiatives.
- Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable agricultural industry and food supply
- Enhancing health and well-being locally, nationally, and globally
- Designing sustainable landscapes across urban-rural interfaces
- Advancing adaptation and resilience in a changing climate
Sustainable Food Systems Intern
Hi! My name is Alyssa Benoit and I am interning with Sustainable Food Systems Educator Jiff Martin through UConn CAHNR Extension. I am a rising senior at UConn majoring in Allied Health Sciences, and in the Fast-Track program for a Master's in Public Administration (MPA) through the Department of Public Policy. I help with communications on the initiatives Heart CT Grown, Put Local on Your Tray, Taste of Mansfield, and a project for Northeastern CT direct-to-consumer farm sales. In my free time, I enjoy trail running, rock climbing, and gardening!
UConn EFNEP Intern
Hi! My name is Autumn Blasi, and I’m one of the summer interns with UConn CAHNR Extension. I’m currently working in clinical and community nutrition with organizations like the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), and the Human Resource Agencies (HRA) of Bristol and New Britain. At UConn, I major in Nutritional Sciences, with a concentration in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), and have a minor in Food Science. Also at UConn, I’ve been involved with various volunteer programs. I have been a member of both the Boston Understanding Homelessness and the New Haven Urban Food Insecurity alternative break trips, in addition to working with SOS Food Recovery.
My name is Will Carta and I am interning with CLEAR through UConn CAHNR Extensions. I am going to be a senior at UConn and I am majoring in Natural Resources with a concentration in Water Resources and Climate. Before transferring to UConn I spent two and a half years at Manchester Community College. I love fitness, fishing, and playing basketball with friends whenever I get the chance. I am currently working on updating CLEAR’s “State of Low Impact Development in Connecticut“ story map.
Financial Literacy for Youth and Young Adults Intern
Hi, my name is Bianca Castelan and I am the Financial Literacy for Youth and Young Adults Intern for summer 2020 with the UConn Extension Financial Education Program.
At UConn, I am studying Psychological Sciences with a minor in Spanish. During my two years working in the Community Outreach Program Jumpstart I had the opportunity to work with preschool children teaching them topics like science, world cultures, and language. Through my role as a research assistant at the UConn Cognitive Development Lab, I gained experience using a coding software for three different games. These experiences taught me about the development of young children, research methods, and project management. Eventually, I hope to work in human resources. My other interests include running, baking (especially pastries), and video games. This summer, I am working with my supervisor on a financial game that will teach students and young adults how to manage their money.
Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) Intern
Hello all! My name is Sydney Collins, and I am excited to announce my partnership with UConn Extension as a NRCA Intern for the Natural Resources Conservation Academy (NRCA) in Summer 2020.
More about me, I am a rising sophomore at the University of Connecticut studying Environmental Science with a keen interest in Urban and Community Development. My love for the outdoors spawned from the beloved stream I regularly paddled around in growing up in the backwoods of Willington, CT. I was able to interact with a plethora of ecosystems right in my backyard and experience the beauty of the environment, that almost appears untouched by human influence.
Hartford County 4-H Intern
Hi everyone! My name is Megan Davenport and I am Hartford County’s 4-H Intern this summer! I am currently a junior at UConn in Storrs, CT and am double majoring in Animal Science (ANSC) and Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) and minoring in Agriculture Outreach and Learning. At UConn, I am heavily involved in the Dairy Club and the Block and Bridle Livestock Club and enjoy introducing UConn students and community members to the agricultural operations on campus. Before UConn, I was a proud 4-H member for 8 years where I showed dairy cattle for my project and I also served as a State FFA Officer among other leadership roles through my extensive involvement with FFA.
Litchfield County 4-H Intern
Hello my name is Zachary Duda and I am excited to be an intern this summer with Litchfield County 4-H! I am currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut. At UConn I serve as the President of the UConn Agricultural Advocacy Club and am active with the UConn FFA Alumni. My agricultural experience is broad having jobs in areas such as nursery and landscaping, forage crop production, and dairy science. As a former FFA member I was able to learn the value of hands-on applications and want to bring agriculture to the younger generation of agriculturalists in Connecticut.
CEDAS & Best Practices in Economic Development Program Intern
Jade Hardrick is a rising junior at the University of Connecticut and is from South Windsor, CT. She is currently double majoring in economics and urban & community studies. Her interests include urban planning, business, and law. She plans to obtain an advanced degree in at least one of those listed fields. On campus, she is the vice president of the organization Women & Minorities in Economics which encourages more women and minorities to enter the field of economics and has in-depth economic discussions about racial and gender inequality, income inequality, and climate change. Hardrick enjoys running and reading books in her free time.
Plant Diagnostics & Horticulture Intern
Hello! My name is Carl Johnson I am the Plant diagnostic & Horticulture intern at the UConn Plant Diagnostic Lab. I am a graduate of the Ratcliffe Hicks plant science program(RHSA) and am going into my senior year as a Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems (SPSS) major. Before enrolling in UConn I worked as a grower at Logee’s greenhouse in Danielson, CT. I am also the student worker in the Floriculture greenhouse on campus and have spent several semesters working as a lab assistant for the Lubell-Brand lab in the Plant Science department at UConn. I am the President of the UConn Horticulture Club and an avid plant collector and horticulturalist.
Hello! My name is Prabhas KC and I am the Extension Marketing intern for Summer 2020! I am a rising junior, double majoring in Economics and Consumer Behavior. I am involved in numerous organizations throughout campus, such as Camp Kesem and the Mansfield Downtown Partnership. I am working on many creative projects this summer, while at the same time learning more about interpreting analytics and data!
Connecticut River Estuary Aquatic Invasive Plant Steward Intern
Hello! My name is Lindsey Kollmer and I am honored and excited to be the Connecticut River Estuary Aquatic Invasive Plant Steward Intern for the summer of 2020. I am a rising Junior at UConn currently pursuing a double major of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Molecular & Cellular Biology. I am a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society at UConn and enjoy crocheting comfort objects for babies in the NICU as a part of the Knit for NICU club. As part of my internship this summer I am focusing on protecting the lower CT River from two aquatic invasive species in the CT River Estuary: Water Chestnut and Hydrilla. I am working to raise public awareness about these plants and how destructive they can be to the local ecology, public enjoyment, and economy of the river.
New Haven County 4-H Intern
Hello everyone! My name is Erin Korowotny and I am very excited to be the intern for New Haven County 4-H this summer! I am a rising senior in UConn CAHNR, studying Agriculture and Natural Resources. Currently, I serve as the Treasurer of the UConn Agriculture Advocacy Club. After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in either Extension education, or become a high school agriculture teacher. I was an avid FFA member in my 4 years of high school, but never got involved in 4-H, so I am excited to learn more about what it has to offer to its members. This summer I am working on virtual ways for our 4-H members to celebrate their annual fair and their accomplishments, as well as activities that can be done from home to keep members engaged and busy.
To see more of what I’m doing with New Haven County 4-H, check out our new Instagram page: middlesexnewhaven4hfair
Tolland County 4-H Intern
Hi everyone! My name is Kirsten Krause and this year I am the Tolland County 4-H summer program intern! I am currently a junior attending UConn Storrs as an Animal Science major on the pre-veterinary track, with hopes to attend veterinary school after completing my undergraduate degree. At UConn, I am heavily involved in many livestock clubs, including Block and Bridle, the Poultry Science Club, and the Dairy Club, which I will be serving as the president of for the 2020-2021 school year. I am also involved on campus as a student ambassador for CAHNR, a herdsman for the animal science department “Little I” livestock show, and as a volunteer student worker in various livestock research studies.
Vegetable Entomology Intern
I am a Senior undergrad environmental engineering major and ecology and evolutionary biology minor with a passion for entomology. This summer I will be working as a vegetable entomology intern through UConn’s Extension Internship Program. I work closely with Professor Legrand to develop an informational entomology website and outreach educational materials. Other than web development, I am creating informational and fun content for Bug Week, developing a social media presence for the IPM entomology lab, as well as collecting and rearing various insects. Through this internship, I am excited to continue learning about entomology and the various aspects of integrated pest management.
Environmental Education Intern
Hello everyone, my name is Meg Sanders, and I am a UConn Extension Environmental Education intern with the Natural Resources Conservation Academy for summer 2020.
A little bit about myself, I am a sophomore at UConn studying environmental science with a minor in communication. I was an intern with UConn Extension during the summer of 2019 and I worked with other extension educators and 4-H educators. My experience with UConn Extension has allowed me to gain valuable field experiences at Auer Farm, the 4-H Hartford County Fair, and other 4-H sites in CT. I’ve been really lucky to have had opportunities working with many diverse groups of youth and adults in order to both teach others and learn about their experiences with the environment. I especially loved working with CT youth at Auer Farm, and being able to teach students who didn’t have much experience with rural ecosystems about the animals on a farm.
New Haven County Farmer's Market Intern
Hello, my name is Nikki Santillo. I am interning with the New Haven County farmer’s market. I am a rising junior majoring in Nutritional Sciences with a minor in Food Science. In the fall semester, I was able to connect with an after school program the nutrition club supported. I helped inform the children about healthy decision making while preparing nutritious snacks. I hope to return and be a full time participant in the Nutrition Club this coming year.
Hi everyone! My name is Klaudia Sowizral and I’m the Sustainable Turf and Landscaping intern. I’m a rising junior here at UConn pursuing a double major in Environmental Science with a concentration in Sustainable Systems, as well as a major in Sustainable Plant and Soil Science, and a minor in creative writing. My interests include sustainable agriculture and development as well as invasive species control and conservation. I’m currently developing written means of communication on sustainable land practices and invasive plant control for land and turf managers in the state of Connecticut. I have a background working with invasive aquatic plants as well as sustainable land management. I play D1 for the UConn Women's Volleyball team, and outside of school I love the arts and make plenty of pottery and ceramic art.
Windham County 4-H Intern
Hi! My name is Marlena Takes and I am excited to be an intern with Windham County 4-H and contribute to youth development and STEM programs this summer. I am an upcoming junior at UConn studying Allied Health Sciences and minoring in Spanish. While at UConn, I enjoy volunteering, especially with the Windham Heights After School Program where I tutor and mentor students. This experience has prepared me to create STEM content for 4-Hers virtually this summer. I am involved with the development of activities and videos explaining STEM topics and providing opportunities for students to experiment with them while using resources at home.
CT Trail Census Intern
Hi! My name is Neva Taylor and I am one of the summer interns with the CT Trail Census and UConn CAHNR Extension. At UConn, I am a double major in Urban and Community Studies (UCS) and Sociology, and in the Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) fast track program. At UConn I am on the women’s rugby team and the triathlon team; because of COVID I have switched to mainly running, running my first virtual half marathon back in May. Other than sports, I also am involved with the Big Brother Big Sister mentoring program where I have a “little sister” at a local elementary school. I also had my own radio show last semester called Woman of the Week (WOW) where I highlighted different amazing women out there doing amazing things each week.
New London County 4-H Intern
Greetings! My name is Sara Tomis and I am working as an intern for the New London County 4-H Office. I am majoring in Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR) at the University of Connecticut, and I intend to pursue a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education upon the completion of my undergraduate degree. I aspire to combine my passion for animal science and horticulture with my passion for outreach to develop a successful career in agricultural education.