Fresh Picked Interns

Pictured, from left to right: Alison Cantor, Intern; Camille Frazier, former Outreach Coordinator; Megan (Thompson) Westgate, Executive Director; Sara Krautbauer, Intern. Not pictured: Sara Young, Outreach Coordinator; Aerienne Russell, Intern; Isa Ballard, Intern

In a small sunlit office in Upland, CA, the smell of cloves and the sound of keyboards clacking linger gently in the air as the employees of the Non-GMO Project work diligently on databases, events, and more. It is here where I find myself to be one of five interns this semester (along with Halley, Alison, Isa, and Sara) and thus far, I have had quite a positive experience.

As a sophomore in college, I knew it was time to start thinking about gaining experience in a field more legitimate than pizza-making. As I combed through internship opportunities in my area, the Non-GMO Project caught my eye; it seemed to encompass my interest in food politics and organics while still offering something unfamiliar and new. My prior knowledge about GMOs was limited, a mere conglomeration of informational tidbits gathered from books, documentaries, and news articles. Within two days of working with the Project, though, I had built a pretty solid basis of knowledge about GMOs, and I am still adding to it everyday.

Each of the interns here has been given their own specific projects to work on, from making phone calls to building the database to outreach and education. Because of prior experiences with reviewing and writing, I have been given the task of blogging for the Project. Though it’s always a little intimidating to speak on behalf of someone else, it’s nice to finally be able to put these higher-education writing skills into practice and to do something I enjoy. And no matter what we are working on, the real goal of the internship experience here is to learn what we love, love what we learn, and support ourselves and our goals through supporting the Project as a whole. I know inevitably what I put in I will get out, and that’s what makes this a truly rewarding experience.

It is only my third week at the Project, but I can tell already I’m going to love it; I’ve learned so much not only about GMOs, but also about all the hard work it takes to keep up a small non-profit. It’s easy to forget that the Non-GMO Project is more than just a label or a website; it’s an organization founded and supported by real people who are dedicated to maintaining consumer awareness and choice. The employees and interns here work hard each and every day to bring together the consumer and the company to ensure consistent and quality labeling of GMO-free foods. I am thankful to be working with such an organization and am excited to see what comes next for both the Project and myself.

Aerienne is a sophomore at Pomona College. She will be blogging regularly for the Project, so look forward to more soon!