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My Summer Internship

Picture1 Going Coastal at Weedon Island Preserve

My name is Heather Landis and I will be graduating from the University of Florida in May of the coming year with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Science. This summer, I had the pleasure of being an intern with the UF/IFAS Extension Service here in Pinellas County.

My internship was supervised by Ramona Madhosingh-Hector, the Urban Sustainability Agent for the county. Working under her, I expected to learn all about her programs and what it takes to be successful in Extension… and I wasn’t disappointed. Like all agents, Ramona balances a lot of different responsibilities to provide county residents with current, unbiased, research-based knowledge in ways that are easy to understand and apply to their lives. Some of her programs, such as Sustainable Floridians, are easy to relate to her job title and some, like the Youth Advisory Committee, aren’t necessarily the first things you would think of, but they all represent important facets of working in extension in an urban county.

My main project while I was here was to help plan and organize a community film series called Sustainability Connections for this fall. A collaborative project with the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability, the series consists of three films about climate change. Starting in September, these films will be screened on the third Tuesday of each month at the Patel Center for Global Solutions. It took a lot of effort, but I am very proud of what we have put together. If you’re interested in attending, keep an eye out for more information at

What I learned didn’t stop at the bounds of urban sustainability, either. I had the opportunity to explore our horticulture programs, see what our Sea Grant agent does, visit our 4-H community gardens, and more. It really did surprise me the variety of what is included in Extension.

Some people refer to Extension Services as “the best kept secret” in community education, but I would like to see that change. That’s why I want to take this opportunity to encourage anyone reading to look a little deeper into what Extension can do for you. With all the great programs that our agents work to bring to the community, there is truly something for everyone.