After graduating from Ursinus, I went through a series of food-related jobs, including working on a small organic vegetable and flower farm and at a local foods grocery store. My favorite part of these jobs was talking to people about their food choices, and I knew that I wanted to be involved in learning about our current food system and how to change it for the better. I started researching graduate programs in food and decided on Vermont; Burlington is an area known for the vitality of its local food scene, and it’s great to be immersed in that while pursuing my Master’s.
Choosing a transdisciplinary project-based degree meant that I get to examine the many facets of our current food systems. With my research, I hope to focus on gender divides in CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farming by interviewing male and female farmers in the state of Vermont. I want to examine the reasoning behind farmers’ decisions to go into CSA farming as opposed to conventional monocropping ventures, and whether gender differences in farming found by other studies also exist in Vermont.
Impact of Ursinus
As an Environmental Studies major at Ursinus, I got the chance to take a class called Food, Society & the Environment that worked with a local farm every week. I also interned with the same farm for a summer, and both of these experiences really cemented my interest in working with local farmers and customers to better understand local food systems. Ursinus does such a great job of connecting what you learn in the classroom to “the real world”, and I really felt that that sense of connection helped me immensely after graduation. The liberal arts nature of Ursinus is fantastic—I was able to take classes across a wide spectrum of topics and graduate with three minors; this also allowed me to connect with faculty members in a variety of departments. All the faculty at Ursinus are super helpful and want to see you succeed, so make sure to utilize the time you have with them.
Piece of Advice
Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. It’s easy to fall back on things that will be easy or familiar to you, but some of my most rewarding experiences (like my semester abroad in Ireland and applying to graduate school) have happened as a result of putting myself out there and doing something that scared me a little. Take the plunge!