AGEC Student Internships in Food Safety, Quality, and Sustainability
Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication
Markus Banas (Senior; Agribusiness Management; Fort Wayne, IN) and Emma Bethany Bielecki (Senior; AgriFinance; Ladoga, IN) are two AGEC students who interned with a focus in the food safety, quality and sustainability sector of agriculture. They both aimed to aid in providing quality products for consumers, but their internships provided them with much different experiences. One student focused more on food security and facilitating events, whereas the other focused more on research involving waste regulations.
Markus worked for St. Joseph Community Health Foundation where he interned for the HEAL Program, which is an initiative that combats food insecurity within inner-city Fort Wayne. He worked to establish connections with farmers and churches to provide affordable food options to people who are face food insecurity and are eligible for food assistance. These individuals primarily included the Burmese, Latino, and African American populations in the area. Markus facilitated HEAL and set up food markets in food desert areas to help make healthy, locally-grown food more available to these populations. Regarding lessons learned, Markus discovered how to serve and to be accommodative to many new groups of people. “These experiences heightened my cultural competence and empathy toward people who have fewer opportunities and less access to food resources.”
Emma’s summer included a large amount of research projects. She interned with Indiana Packers Corp. as a Food Safety Intern in Delphi, IN where she has spent her past three summers. Most of Emma’s research-based projects dealt with pinpointing problem areas and government compliance regulations for the corporation. “I have been able to learn a lot about the micro side of the industry and gain a solid foundation in wastewater regulation knowledge.” Through her summers in food safety, Emma has found that her favorite part was getting to conduct an in-depth investigative study of the daily Pre-Op sanitation by herself.
As you can see from Markus’ and Emma’s experiences, food safety, quality and sustainability can include many different concentrations. Each internship provided new knowledge that these AGEC students can apply to future courses and careers.
Brooke Langley (Indiana Packers, Quality Assurance) also worked in this sector over the summer.