Name: Alejandra Carrilo
Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida
Major: Twice in environmental studies and in natural and applied sciences, minors in biology. I am also an honorary student and part of the agrology program.
Where did you practice? What did you do there?? I had a spring practice with Zumi Miami. I was able to train in their horticulture department and also had the opportunity to learn a lot from the wildlife conservation team.
How did you get your experience? I first learned that a student who worked at Gopher to Lee did Zoo Mami work with a FIU article. As soon as I finished reading it, I went straight to Makami’s website and applied for a place to work as a gardener.
What projects have you worked on? During my time at the zoo, I worked on many projects around kindergarten. While my main project monitored the variety of plants and how they thrive in different soil conditions, I also helped with the overall care of the plants in the nursery.
I have been able to participate in many community projects sponsored by the Horticulture Department, and I have been assisting some of the Scouts and Girl Scouts in various management projects from cactus gardens to beehives.
I was fortunate enough to spend some days with the conservation department where I learned a lot about the pine Rockland ecology and endangered butterfly species.
How does your work experience relate to your course work? This practice has enabled me to apply and practice all research on plant management and conservation in my daily activities. From all the things I learned, I saw how they were implemented in a professional setting outside of classroom, from pest management to ecology to gardening.
What was the best thing about your internship or what happened during your internship? My most memorable experience During a visit to design plant rehabilitation sites in Pine Rockland, we all saw the tiny wasp moth. It was exciting and exciting to see the full impact of ecological reform at that time.
What did you like most about your experience? I really enjoyed the hands-on experience that allowed me to learn his position. In one of the lakes, I have had the opportunity to do many things, including diving. I loved how active the environment was. It was new every day and I was able to explore different parts of the garden with the most knowledgeable people.
What did you learn about yourself? I learned that there is always more to learn! As each new activity becomes a learning experience, I realized that sometimes knowing less is more than just being open to growing as an individual with the help of the professionals around you.
How did the site boost your professional confidence? This practice has helped me improve my communication skills. At first, I felt embarrassed when it came to asking for help or commenting. After the experience, I learned to be more confident and more open to making mistakes because this is the best way to grow.
How to expand your professional network? This experience brought me into contact with many great individuals in the local community. I met many people from the Maya-Dade Parks and Recreation Department and began studying under environmentalists and gardeners.
How did it help you to prove yourself in the “real world”? I saw this opportunity as an opportunity to apply all the skills I had learned in my college experience. I was able to use the same experiences I had learned in the FIU Organic Garden in and around the park. Each time I was commended for my talents or projects, I was truly proud and grateful for what I was given.
What advice do you have for those who are just starting out? My advice to those who are just starting out is to not give up and use the resources provided by the university. Before I left for work in Sumi Maya, I was repeatedly challenged by many other places. As frustrating as it was, I did not let that stop me and instead focused on the good that was to come.
I am so grateful for the FIU Agrology Education Program for supporting me through this experience. My advisors at FIU, Dr. Baht and Dr. Koddamzadeh, as well as Michael Hitchcock and Yvette Jones, did this truly memorable and rewarding work at Animal Husbandry.
Carrolllo’s work is supported by the USDA-NIFA Hispanic Service Institutional Higher Education Funding Program 2016-38422-25549, specifically the Innovative Agricultural Training Curriculum and the Hispanics (iCATCH) Program.