Name: Kathleen Corcella
Class Year: 2021
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Indianapolis, Ind.
Internship Organization: Experimental Farm Network and Professor Sara Grossman of Bryn Mawr College
Job Title: Researcher
Endowed Internship Funding Award: Green Grant
What’s happening at your internship?
I research lost regional crops for the Experimental Farm Network. Lost crops are crops that were grown in the past, but are no longer found today in botanical gardens, seed catalogues, and other plant databases. I focus on crops that grew in New Jersey, the southern part of New York, and Philadelphia, Pa. My research consists of tracking crops over time; compiling information on habitat, care, description; and finding out the chances that it still exists today. I primarily use Google Books and Archive.org to gather sources. I use Google docs and Google sheets to help sort my data and share it with my supervisor.
Why did you apply for this internship?
This internship is a continuation of the research done by the Spring 2020 Environmental Studies 204 Praxis course taught by Professor Sara Grossman. Unfortunately, due to the sudden shift to remote schoolwork, my peers and I were not able to complete the project in the way we thought we would. It was disappointing that we had to finish the semester the way we did. I am interested in working in archives and all the other internships I applied for were also cancelled due to COVID-19. When Professor Grossman learned all of my summer plans fell through, she proposed the idea that I would be able to continue working with the Experimental Farm Network (our partner for the Praxis course) since I loved working on the research project during the semester. The hope was that I could fulfill some of the goals and ideas my peers and I had brainstormed at the beginning of the year. I was thrilled at the chance that I would be able to continue this research and have an internship related to my interests. I decided to accept her offer of having this opportunity as my summer internship and I do not regret my decision.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship are the images and the books. There are many beautiful images done of crops over the years. Some of them are done in pen and I have found some done in watercolor. My favorite image of a lost crop is of the Eldorado Blackberry found in the U.S. Congressional Serial Set Volume 3095 that was published in 1893. The picture took up a full page and was printed in color. I have also enjoyed reading the minutes of different horticultural societies. They discussed everything from new crops to research on disease resistance. I have also found a few recently published books on lost crops that look interesting to read. They cover the history and connection people have to food and agriculture in general. I hope to read some of them when I have time.
Working remotely for the first time? What has that experience been like for you?
Working remotely has been challenging. All my previous work experiences had been in person and it was weird not seeing anyone but my family in person. It is also hard to get in the mindset of being at work when your job is being done in the kitchen and your cat demands attention.
Visit the Summer 2020 Internships page to read more student stories.