The Bergami Summer Internships Blog

'This Internship has Already Exceeded my Expectations'

As a member of the University’s Bergami Summer Internship Program, I am applying what I have learned in the classroom to my work as a farm crew intern for the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, exploring the science of farming and sustainability.

July 10, 2020

By Nora Doonan '22

Image of Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization
The Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization in Mahwah, NJ.

This summer, I am taking part in an internship at the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, also known as MEVO, in Mahwah, NJ. I was assigned to the position of farm crew intern, and I spend my work days on a two-acre sustainable and organic vegetable farm.

I am very interested in botany and agricultural biology, making this internship opportunity one of great value to me. I have ambitions to pursue agricultural research in the future and to learn more about plant science. I chose to apply for the position to gain hands-on experience in an agricultural system and because the organization shares my same ideals for helping the environment. This internship has already exceeded my expectations for the summer.

Image of the crew at MEVO
MEVO is a two-acre sustainable and organic vegetable farm.

I have been immersed in a world of soil, bugs, crops, and sunshine. There are so many components and interactions to consider in an agroecosystem, and the complexity is mind-blowing. I hope to learn the ins and outs of farm work (seed germination, prepping beds, planting seeds, transplanting, weeding, harvesting, etc.) and the timeline in which these tasks are done and why. In addition, I hope to increase my knowledge of the benefits of plant and bacteria/fungi interaction, the different types of seeds (hybrid, genetically modified, heirloom, and open pollinated), pest and disease prevention measures, beekeeping, and plant structure, development, and health.

As a biology major with a concentration in cellular and molecular biology, I am amazed to see how my academic studies are applied in a real-world setting. Farming truly involves such a heavy amount of science. For example, the farm compost system relies on chemistry and biology knowledge. In order to have a healthy compost cycle, there must be an even distribution of green and brown materials. Compost is just one of many examples that shows how science and farming coincide with one another.

As I gain knowledge and experience from this internship, I am also partaking in a scalable ecological solution to better the environment. The organization focuses heavily on community involvement by running volunteer days, teaching sustainable agriculture, and holding cleanups. Saving the planet and working for a better future begins at a personal and community level, and community-based farming is the perfect way to show others that change is possible and very necessary. I am so excited to continue to learn and grow this summer at MEVO.

The Bergami Summer Internship Program is funded through the generosity of Board of Governors member – and former Board Chair – Sam Bergami ’85 EMBA, ’02 Hon. and his wife, Lois, and the Division of Student Affairs.