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My RIPE Communications Internship Experience – Nguyen Ha

Being RIPE's Science Communication Intern for the Fall 2023 semester has been a gratifying experience. As a studentNguyen Ha studying Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, my initial understanding of the agricultural field's sustainability and the intricate research involved was limited. However, this experience has expanded my knowledge greatly. I learned more about the research on water use efficiency, optimizing canopies, and much more, and the most rewarding part was sharing what I've learned with the general public. Witnessing the dedicated research efforts has left me genuinely excited about the potential impact on the world in the coming years.

This experience has been a masterclass in stepping outside my comfort zone, presenting numerous learning opportunities. It specifically emphasized the importance of asking questions – a practice integral to the work of researchers. I've learned and appreciated that asking questions is acceptable and essential in pursuing knowledge and initiating groundbreaking research. As someone unfamiliar with this field, asking questions is how I learned about all of the pioneering research being done at RIPE. Putting together everything I've learned from RIPE with everything I've learned so far in my field of study means that I get to make the connections, a synthesis that is pivotal in contributing to the goal of feeding the world sustainably.

I got to show an example of this when I worked on the World Food Day project. This year's World Food Day focused on water, with the slogan "Water is life. Water is food. Leave no one behind." I got to interview two incredible scientists, an ocean apart from each other but still after the same goal of making crops use water more efficiently to lessen water waste. While I understood water conservation to ensure freshwater availability, I needed to learn how agriculture can use water more sustainably. Because of RIPE, I connected what I know about protecting our waters with learning how crops can potentially use water more efficiently to create a social media campaign to celebrate World Food Day. Here, I realized that despite the geographical distances, diverse cultural and background origins, and the varied research topics pursued by the researchers at RIPE, a common objective unites them all. That shared goal is to collaboratively strive towards a future where the entire world can be sustainably fed. Similarly, within the environmental science field, diverse knowledge backgrounds come together as we unite in our collective commitment to conserving the environment.

This experience has been an essential part of improving my interpersonal and campaign development skills. Sharing my insights from my field of study has always been a passion, and I'm thrilled to extend this enthusiasm to convey the valuable lessons I've gained from my time at RIPE. This internship surpassed my expectations, and I am pleased with what I have been able to do and learn from this experience. My only hope is that my work shows what everyone at RIPE is capable of and all the good things they do to help advance agriculture in a more sustainable direction.


Want an experience like Nguyen’s? At the time of publishing, RIPE is looking for a science communications intern for the Spring 2024 semester. Visit RIPE’s Join Our Team page for more information.