My Experience Interning at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) is a state and public-serving research facility promoting agricultural productivity and protection. There are four locations, with the main campus being in New Haven, as well as a farm in Hamden, and two satellite locations in Windsor and Voluntown. CAES staff researches a wide variety of fields, from entomology to chemistry, all to serve Connecticut’s farmers and the general public. 

I worked at CAES in the summer of 2023 through the Plant Health Fellows program, which allowed me to conduct an independent research project while providing me a stipend and housing. My project focused on interactions between bacteria and protists on the surfaces of leaves. Before this program, I never thought I would be able to conduct a project like this. With the support given to me by my mentors and the collaborative environment of CAES, I was able to finish the project and share my work at a few symposiums across Connecticut. I presented at symposiums at CAES, UConn’s Fall Frontiers, and a plant science symposium at Yale University, which greatly improved my communication abilities. This experience allowed me to see myself as a scientist for the first time and gave me the confidence necessary to continue on my scientific journey.

The program also had weekly professional development sessions that allowed the other fellows and I to explore agricultural careers in the government, academia, and industry. As a molecular and cell biology major, I had never considered careers in agriculture at all. It was a fantastic exposure to career paths I never would have considered otherwise. 

Overall, I had an excellent experience working at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. I loved learning how to work in a lab, helping manage field experiments, and gaining exposure to the field of agriculture as a whole. It was an incredible environment for my personal growth, and I was so glad to have contributed something to science with my summer. 

If you want to apply for an internship in agriculture, check out the Plant Health Fellows program and other positions at CAES. Further, check for internships with the USDA and other federal agricultural agencies, or the Agriculture, Animals, Food, and the Environment career community page for more jobs and internships in agriculture, like the UConn Co-Op Extension Program

By Alexandra Carabetta
Alexandra Carabetta