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Eastern Shore Food Lab

ESFL Intern Handbook

Based on her 2019 Food Lab Summer Internship experience, Nicole Hatfield ’21 shares the following insights for ESFL interns (and everyone else). 

My Recommendations

  • Keep a weekly journal. I structure mine like this:
    • Things Accomplished:
    • Reflection:
    • Looking Forward (Next Week’s Goals):
  • Visit the garden frequently (with people and alone)
    • The garden is the soul of the Food Lab
  • Read (ANYTHING)
  • Follow your interests and your instincts
  • Communicate with other interns (collaboration is key)
  • Try new things, listen to other interns and grow with them/their projects
  • Come in with a general/broad research question that could fit into the Food Lab mission
  • Don’t put boundaries on yourself, follow what you love
  • Ask for help (use Shane and Bill as resources)
  • Don’t freak out if it seems like you don’t have an “end goal” or something to “show people.” The Food Lab is invested in the future and the future is large—this means that your goals won’t always be attainable and that the small, everyday things you do may seem unimportant; but, they are important. So, don’t lose hope and keep yourself focused on what’s ahead of you.
  • Try to live the food lab mission in your real life (not just at work)
  • Personally, it helped me to create my own weekly schedule with weekly goals and things to accomplish—I recommend planning out each week with ambitious goals (you don’t have to complete them all that week, but it gives you motivation to work and helps you prioritize things that need to be done).
  • Balance outdoor work with indoor work
    • Something I really loved about this internship was how it allowed me to do work both outside and inside. This summer, my mornings were dedicated to the garden (before it got too hot), and then I would usually eat lunch/read, and then afternoons were dedicated to the (air-conditioned) Food Lab.
    • This internship fulfilled my dream of having a job that involves hands-on activity.
    • Every day is different.