Max Lyons '22

Garden Assistant with Marlene's Garden's

How did you hear about your internship?

I was fortunate to connect with a Johnnie Alum in Alaska and spend the summer of 2020 on Kodiak Island helping him start a lodge. Through this opportunity I got to know the surrounding community and became aware of this unique internship opportunity for the upcoming summer.

How did you obtain the internship?

I secured my internship 6-10 months in advance by using the network of contacts from my personal life, friends, and our universities.

Describe the responsibilities of your internship.

This summer I was essentially the assistant manager of a local village garden. My responsibilities included, but were not limited to were planting, watering, harvesting, and nursing the health and prosperity of our various vegetables. Any additional time was spent preparing for the upcoming season by creating compost, planning our crop rotation, and improving the current system. This summer I had the opportunity to help install a drip irrigation system which will save us an abundance of time and effort each day to water our gardens!

What were the highlights from your internship?

The highlights of my internship was getting hands on experience learning how to operate a local vegetable garden. This also included engaging with the local community and selling our produce to chefs working at nearby fishing lodges.

How did your internship connect (or not) to your coursework?

The entirety of my internship experience was connected to what I have studied at CSB/SJU. At Marlene's Garden we aimed to utilize local ingredients in order to grow organic, nutritious food for the surrounding community while minimizing our environmental footprint and sequestering carbon.

How did your internship connect (or not) to your planned career?

I have become fascinated by our food production systems and learning how to create a more localized network of producers and consumers. Helping manage a community garden in a remote fishing village has given me a valuable insight as to how this may or may not become a reality across our country. It has given me an abundance of hope but also opened my eyes to the amount of passion and effort that is required to grow our food.

What advice do you have for other students seeking internships?

I would advise other students to take a chance and secure an internship in an area that they have some sort of interest in. It is not about securing a carrier or job, but using the unique opportunity to try something new. You may enjoy your internship, you may not, but regardless you will learn something about yourself, others, and create valuable relationships that may help you in the future.

Do you have other thoughts about your internship experience that were not addressed above?

I would encourage students to create learning goals/objectives that are valuable to themselves and to stay persistent in achieving these goals. Although at times the tasks may be tedious, looking back, they have been extremely valuable tools that have helped me expand the impact of this internship experience.