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What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
Since walking in graduation in May 2010, I completed the Israel Study Abroad with Professor Aronoff, WOOFed at a farm in Italy with a fellow RCAH-er, and completed an internship for credit at Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs, MI. After I was technically done with school, I came back to the greater Lansing area and received a position at the Allen Neighborhood Center as a half-time Americorps member managing the Hunter Park Community Garden House through the Power of We Consortium. After my Americorps term was completed in August 2011, I went back to the farm in Harbor Springs to take a full time position. After the season ended, I returned to Lansing to help open Fork in the Road Artisan Diner with a couple of incredibly talented friends. In March 2012, I was hired at the Food Bank Council of Michigan as their Food Programs Manager. In my current position at FBCM, I contract farmers to grow fresh and local Michigan produce for food banks, purchase surplus Michigan produce, and work to provide resources for regional member food banks across the state.
How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
The RCAH has prepared me to encounter all of my past and present positions. Without my education and my ability to think critically, I would not have had the chance to hold these positions, much less stably complete the various tasks and assignments that my position requires. Not only did the RCAH feed and build my base knowledge of sustainable food communities, but I was able to receive the skills that have enabled me to continue to grow and curiously explore the field.
What were your academic interests in RCAH?
My academic interests in the RCAH were food. All things: culture, history, science, community, etc. In addition, while in the RCAH, I fell in love with literature with natural themes, photography, and Italian culture.
What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
My favorite aspects were the constant companionship of people with different abilities, knowledge, and interests. The RCAH as a living and learning community is an understatement--it was an incredible experience to live in what I was learning, in more than one way. In addition, the small class size and creative flexibility gave the RCAH the ability to challenge its students to engage.
Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
I studied abroad twice; once on an Italian Language, Culture, and Art trip for six weeks to Florence, Italy, and a second trip to Israel studying Natural Resource Conservation for three weeks with Eric Aronoff.
What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Go abroad, live big, and challenge the system. Don’t ask the RCAH what they can give to you, ask them for what you want.