This past Fall while participating in the Philadelphia Experience, Rachael Carter interned at The Food Trust in Philadelphia. Before Rachael began working at the company, she had to go through an interview process which consisted of questions regarding motivation, her interests, and how she found out about the company. Rachael found this internship opportunity through a faculty member. During her time at The Food Trust, she attended national team meetings once a week and other smaller meetings, such as implementation and project meetings. The majority of her work consisted of performing eligibility reviews for different locations to see if they were eligible for funding. Another big part of her work was reading large texts and then “aggregating the information.” Rachael enjoyed the work that she did at the company, but the most challenging part was pulling important information from the large texts.
Time management, efficiency, how to use larger databases, how to use meeting times effectively, and communication were the main skills that Rachael utilized during her experience. She believes that this internship helped her improve upon the basic skills of time management and communication. Carter also believes that these skills will definitely help her in the classroom or in her future career.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
Kamryn Norris made a big difference in Rachael’s internship. “She’s young and has a really bubbly personality,” recalls Rachael. “She was one of the first people who showed me around the office. Also, hearing her story about how she got there was really cool.” Rachael would definitely consider asking her coworkers for recommendations and using them as references. The connections that she made in the workplace are very important to her since her coworkers have expertise in the field. “They invest interest in everyone that has come into the office. I didn’t feel like an intern, but more like their coworker,” adds the junior.
Rachael is absolutely prepared to take on larger projects after her internship experience. She even provided new insight in two big projects that she did at The Food Trust! She is also prepared for being a part of the food justice industry, knowing how things work, and knowing the language by getting a better understanding of the words or phrases used. Carter feels as though this internship changed her personally. “I feel like they want you to come as a strong student and be able to do independent work. I realized where I want to be, which teams I would like to work with, and what I will and will not tolerate,” explains Rachael. She learned that the company is very serious about their work and are people-oriented, and that there are different ways of going about food justice.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
“We had a great diversity training, which was a lunch and learn hour. It was nice to see how a big organization was involved with big issues. It was also super exciting to see that they were very committed to those issues,” says Rachael.
Carter advises, “Don’t be concerned about where, but what your goal is. I have learned that you can intern just about anywhere, but it’s about communicating what you want.” Another good piece of advice from Rachael is that if you know you will have a knowledgeable and impactful mentor, it is an excellent reason to choose an internship. Lastly, she would recommend this internship experience to anyone with a similar interest.