A Farewell to Maya

Think back to April of 2020! A crazy and strange time for all, and it was doubly so for our office. Like pretty much everyone we were sent out of the office to work from home. We also discovered that all our online CEU content was broken. This meant applicators couldn’t rely on this online resource to keep their licenses up to date. So here we are, everyone and everything virtual, applicators needing courses online, and our offerings broken. Into this crucible of madness entered one Maya Encinosa. She helped save our office and improve it for years to come. As Maya graduates and moves on, we want A Farewell to Maya and send her on her way by sharing with you all just how amazing she is.

Who is Maya?

First let’s learn a little more about Maya and how our office was lucky enough to pull her in. Maya is a Florida native and is finishing her degree at UF in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. Her focus and interest have been in becoming a veterinary anatomic pathologist, specifically looking to research wildlife diseases. This pursuit has allowed her to do some really great summer projects. From working with things like sea lions in California to native bats in the swamps of Florida. Her passion for these projects and her future is infectious and instantly makes you want to learn more.

So what does Maya do when NOT being the best intern ever? Perhaps she could be latin dancing, scuba diving, cooking, and watercolor painting. Whatever she does she brings the same passion and energy. It is refreshing to see such a young person so passionate and diversified in their pursuits in life. Regardless of what she is doing, she tackles it with a deliberate intensity that will take her wherever she wants to go.

Now how did a budding saver of wildlife connect with the pesticide information office? Well as everyone left campus due to Covid, Maya’s part time job at the Agronomy office helping to answer phones, disappeared. This timing coincided with our need to fix all our online courses, which was a tedious and large task that we could never have done on our own. The Agronomy department asked if anyone had work their folks could do, we took a shot on a sophomore named Maya. BEST decision we could have made! Maya grabbed this complicated task, with minimal guidance I must say, and went to work. She quickly, competently, and creatively completed the project way ahead of schedule and better than we could have imagined. Our office, and the thousands of applicators that have taken our courses owe her a debt of gratitude.


What Other Projects

There was no way we could stop at that, over the next 3 years we had Maya fix two other glitches we had in the office, had her design our wildly popular “Which License Do I Need” publication, and a handful of other projects. Over this time we learned that Maya could speak Spanish fluently, given her family’s connection to Guatemala. How fortuitous, we were just wrapping up translating some of our material into Spanish, but needed someone that could voice over and record the training. In stepped Maya, to not only record her voice, but to translate on the fly my bad jokes and personalized presentations, and made it something that worked even better. She also edited, created the courses, and got them posted online. Yet again Maya stepped up, did what we needed, improved it, and served the applicators of this state.

Finally, we learned that Maya’s family has a deep connection to educating Spanish speaking potential mothers across south Florida. This correlated perfectly with another project in which we wanted to create brochures aimed at agricultural employee families. Specifically focusing on things like how to wash the clothes of those working with pesticides, and how to protect the whole family, including expectant mothers. We turned Maya loose to design these brochures and began talking with her mother to get these documents into the hands of those who need them most. The final product exceeded all our original expectations and will yet again make a lasting impact here in Florida.

Fare Thee Well

If you can’t tell by now, I am forever indebted to Maya, forever grateful to her, and will champion her future to all who will listen. She not only competently completed the tasks placed before her, but made improvements to each project, to the office as a whole, and is one of the most delightful people I have ever worked with. Maya is set to graduate this summer and is seeking graduate programs for the Fall of 2024. I don’t know all of what the future holds for Maya, but I know it is a bright future and she is going to make everything around her better. We will miss her for sure but want her to know she goes with the appreciation and best wishes from our entire office and we know she is going to change the world.

“Maya, may your horizons be endless and the wind forever in your favor”




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Posted: May 4, 2023

Category: Academics, Blog Community, Pests & Disease, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Brett Bultemeier, Internship, Maya Encinosa, Pesticide Information Office, Thank You

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