Briella Hirsch '22
Name: Briella Hirsch
Hometown: Derry, NH
Class year: Senior, 2022
Internship Company: Seacoast Eat Local
Internship Job Title: UNH Sustainability Fellow
Tell me the story of how you got this internship.
My summer going into my senior year of college was slowly, but surely creeping up on me. Like many rising seniors, I was on the hunt for an internship. It was important that I got some experience in the field and it was even more important to me that I find out what I liked and didn't like in a career. I took interest in a position with a local nonprofit, Seacoast Eat Local. I was initially drawn to their mission and the company's "SAMM van" (a big blue van with bright fruits and vegetables painted on the sides). Rather than dive headfirst into this nonprofit world I was not too familiar with, I dipped in my toes. I volunteered at a winters farmers market that Seacoast Eat Local was hosting, on a chilly morning in March. Bundled up in gloves, a scarf and knitted hat I was greeted at the door by warm smiles and friendly faces. The farmer's market was a community of farmers and gardeners, chefs and home cooks, and food lovers of all ages and backgrounds. It took one day volunteering before I fell in love with the local food community. That is ultimately what moved me to apply for the position the next day and that is what continues to inspire and motivate me to get up every morning and do my job to the best of my ability!
Why did this internship appeal to you?
I knew that I wanted to spend my time doing work that positively impacted our world, but I didn't know how or where. I just knew my why. When I first volunteered with Seacoast Eat Local, I saw with my own eyes the impact they were making on their community. They successfully connected local farms and food producers to consumers, and they were so passionate about good, clean and fair food being accessible to EVERYONE. Food is one thing that brings everyone together. We all have to eat to survive and Seacoast Eat Local utilizes this connection to advocate eating locally for the health of our environment, our community, our culture and our economy. I have always been a foodie myself, so I love getting people excited about eating locally and I've found passion in ensuring that everyone has this opportunity.
How do you feel about the remote aspect of your internship?
I still struggle with the virtual aspect of my internship. I am a person that really loves social interaction and in-person connections, so I felt a bit isolated when I had to work remote. I had to continuously remind myself, that a lot of people are going through the same thing and many feel the same way I was feeling, so even though I felt lonely, I had to remind myself I was not truely alone. Something that helped me working remote, was staying mindful with what my mind and body needed. Some things that helped me cope with remote learning were changing work locations, taking time to go outside (even if it was just a few minutes), having a dance break, and talking with others.
Do you feel prepared for this internship?
Honestly, no! But I don't think you can ever fully prepare for something you've never done before. I came into this internship with an open mind, ready to learn and make mistakes and that is my biggest recommendation for anyone starting up something new and maybe a little intimidating. You will never be able to predict, uncertainty so you just must embrace it (as hard and vulnerable as it is). Ask lots of questions and remember that it is just important for you to get something out of an internship as it is for the company to get something out of you!
What have you learned/hope to learn?
I hoped to learn more about the local food system NH and further what were the barriers stopping people from connecting with their local food system.
What doors do you hope this internship will open for you?
Growing up my Dad always told me, "its all about who you know, not what you know". As important as it is to have the right information, it is more important to network and make relationships with people! I have met so many wonderful people that are doing amazing things through this internship. I've learned so much through hearing their stories.
Why do you think it’s important for students to pursue summer internships?
Internships are like taking a car out for a test drive. You wouldn't waste your money buying an expensive car if you didn't take it out for a spin first. That's how I feel about internship opportunities. You are testing out potential career paths. Even more important that money is time, so don't waste your time doing something you don't truly love, I sure won't. :)
How did the Sustainability Fellowship factor into your ability to take this internship? How do you feel about the program?
I love being a part of the Sustainability Fellowship program because it has connected me with a group of awesome people that are also wanting to make a positive difference in this world. Together, we can work through work related and personal challenges. It's been great navigating this journey with a group of inspiring and talented individuals.