Internship Experience: Jackie Bourdon

Over the past 10 weeks, I have had the best experience interning with the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) in Apopka. Last spring in my sophomore year at UF, I decided I would try to develop a more professional skill set in my field. The IFAS Extension Internship through the Graham Center for Public Service gave me the chance to do so.


A trip to SeaWorld to learn about their Horticulture Department.

Once I matched with MREC, I went through an interview process. A few days later an email came out with the decision, and I was going to be spending my summer with MREC. My enthusiasm for this internship has only grown from that moment.


Since then, I have been able to learn so much. I was hired to update the Scouting Manual for the Commercial Ornamental Nursery. Although I am a Forestry major, learning about the ornamental side of plants has brought a new aspect to my education. The care of these plants includes things such as their pests, weeds, and other factors.


Another part of this internship has been writing blog posts for MREC. For some of the posts featuring local nurseries, Caroline Roper Warwick and I would visit these nurseries and learn about their company. It was such a great way to connect with local industries and get to know more about the field. Other blog posts I wrote featured recent EDIS publications written by faculty and staff at MREC. Seeing their contributions and the array of topics MREC works on added to my knowledge of plants and natural resources.

Visiting a local nursery with Caroline Roper Warwick.

Initially, the Scouting Manual provided me the opportunity of gaining authorship credit. While I was grateful for that alone, I was also given the task of editing other publications. Working on the series Key Plant, Key Pests has added more EDIS publication titles to my authorship credit.


There was also the chance to work with design programs such as InDesign, Photoshop, and Lightroom. These programs play a critical role in communications by creating a clear message through graphics and other mediums. Learning the programs by using them daily is the best way to get to know these powerful tools.


I will definitely hold this internship as a highlight of my college career. I am so grateful to everyone at MREC for creating such a positive experience and would do it over again. The range of things I was able to be a part is thanks to an involved faculty and staff. From communication to the science of plants, this internship had it all and I truly enjoyed my summer with MREC.


Posted: August 21, 2018

Category: Professional Development, UF/IFAS, Work & Life

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