Luther junior Madeline McLean, of Des Moines, served as a summer intern at the Patchwork Green and River Root farms.
McLean, daughter of Duncan and Karen McLean, graduated from Dowling Catholic High School in 2015. She plans to graduate from Luther in spring 2019 with a major in environmental studies.
Typical weeks at the farms were comprised of two days focusing on harvesting and marketing and a day of transplanting crops. Any time in between was filled with weeding, pruning tomatoes and killing potato bugs.
Through this internship, McLean realized that organic farms are not just built on sustainability. The community that goes into the organic farms is equally, if not more, important to the success of the farm. Working with the land made McLean more aware of how earth systems play into each other. "Another key takeaway from both farms was simple but important, a lot of work and resources goes into producing a single head of lettuce or bunch of beets, so do not waste it," McLean commented.
Originally, McLean thought that graduate school was the next step for her, but now she is considering applying for another organic farm intensive or internship.
Approximately 10 percent of Luther students take an internship for academic credit each academic year. The Luther College Career Center assists students with their internship search through resume preparation, networking, online internship searches, career fairs, on-campus interviewing, and connecting the student to alumni through the college's Alumni Internship Program. Students also meet with a faculty adviser prior to the internship to create an internship learning plan that includes learning goals and assessment benchmarks.
An internship work supervisor also assists in the process by writing an evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. Students complete a self-reflection form to help finalize the learning experience.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.