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UF/IFAS Extension Orange County – Intern Highlight

One of the highlights of working with Extension is being able to host and work with an intern. Not only are these students passionate about Extension, but this gives them real experience at what life is like after college. They also bring a positive attitude, infectious energy, and new ideas to our workplace. I had the pleasure of having Mia Forsman, a rising Senior at the University of Florida studying Environmental Science, with minors in Economics and Extension Education, join our team this Summer.

Mia grew up in Orange County and her family still calls Orange County home. Growing up, she developed a passion for the environment. She was in constant contact with the outdoors, whether it be hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, or scuba diving. This love was a driving force behind her degree choice at the University of Florida. While pursuing her degree, Mia learned about UF/IFAS Extension, but wanted to learn more, and she said that she “was excited to accept this internship and work on projects for the county I call home. I enjoy interacting with community members, and I was interested to see the types of projects Extension Agents complete.”

Mia hit the ground running here in Orange County, learning about every program area from the Agents here. She used GIS technology to create a comprehensive map of Orange County Extension programs and is also working on creating materials to help enhance the experience that visitors have in the outdoor Exploration Gardens. In addition to in-office work, she went on multiple out-of-office trips that allowed her to see the unique things Extension Agents do. Mia continues, “I was able to film an Orange TV segment, attend a Board of County Commissioners meeting, and go along with an Agent on a Lakewatch training session, just to name a few.”

Mia’s internship is drawing to an end, but this 8-week period has allowed her to see the breadth of our programs, the excitement of our team, and the transformational work that we do with the people of Orange County. “I didn’t realize the frequent interactions Extension Agents have with stakeholders and community members before I began this internship,” Mia said. “I have seen Agents meeting with and calling community members constantly, and it is fascinating to see how much community members rely on Agents for science-based information for success in their lives and businesses.”

Mia has one more year left at the University of Florida and then she is in the ‘real world.’ Mia said, “I also have made great connections with the Orange County Agents that I hope to carry with me throughout my professional career.” She mentioned that she wants to work in Extension one day and that this experience and learned skills will help her accomplish that goal. And when she does, she is going to do some great work.