Katie Ray, an agricultural education and communication major at the University of Florida (UF), has been interning with the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants (UF/IFAS CAIP) since September of 2019. As the communications intern for UF/IFAS CAIP, Katie has created infographics, assisted in the management of social media, assisted with videography and photography. She has written copy for blogs and has taken the initiative to develop new ideas and projects for the center to pursue.
“The most memorable moment during my time at CAIP was being able to watch the sunset from an airboat on Lake Toho,” Katie said. “I had a blast turning our thoughts into reality by filming video on the lake.”
Katie’s ability to think outside the box has led CAIP to working on communication pieces interdepartmentally communicating interdisciplinary concepts to the public.
“I think it is imperative to communicate about invasive plants and science to the public so we become aware of our own impact on the state of Florida,” Katie said. “Most of the invasives wreaking havoc on our ecosystem are plants humans introduced to the state, so it is our duty to make things right.”
UF/IFAS CAIP is not the first UF/IFAS research center Katie has interned at. She served as an intern for the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in the summer of 2019. Her interest in research centers stems from a thirst for a different perspective of the agriculture and natural resources industry.
“Being able to specifically learn to communicate one agricultural subject at a time interested me,” Katie said. “I thought I could learn a lot about the industry from a different perspective.”
Katie has a passion for communicating science and agriculture. She believes communicating about these topics is vital to the success of the agriculture and natural resources industry. Katie said communicating science to the public can inspire individuals to become problem solvers. She said she believes communicating with the public will help make our world cleaner and more sustainable for future generations.
“I think agriculture is vital to our survival and the industry is often misunderstood and forgotten about. Growing up in a rural community, I was always made aware of agriculture’s importance,” Katie said. “By effectively communicating and educating about agriculture, we can not only help educate consumers, but we can also help move the industry forward in a positive direction as it continues to evolve.”
Originally from Dade City, Florida, Katie has been pursuing her undergraduate degree in Gainesville, Florida at UF’s main campus. She will be attending a graduate program with the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at UF in Spring 2020. After graduate school, her plan is to pursue a career in the agricultural industry.
Educating undergraduate students through industry experience is one of the many goals of UF/IFAS CAIP. Any questions should be directed to Shelby Oesterreicher at 352-273-3667 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants please visit https://plants.ifas.ufl.edu. Be sure to follow us on social @UFIFASCAIP.
UF/IFAS CAIP, Turning Science Into Solutions.