Name: Edy Cicilio
Hometown: Miami, FL
Institution: Florida International University
Campus: Modesto Maidique
Major: Environmental Studies BS; Sociology/Anthropology BA (Sociology Track)
Expected date of graduation: Fall 2014
USDA Agency of interest: Forest Service (FS)
Career experience/location: As an FCCAgE student I had the opportunity to intern and maintain ongoing research with the Center for Renewable Carbon (CRC) in the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.
Description of career experience (what I learned): During the two-month summer internship with the CRC I participated in innovative biofuels research having to do with the genetic improvement of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) for increased lignocellulosic ethanol yield. I learned how to perform impact resistance tests, using a pendulum-style impact tester, to determine the effects to plant physical properties of switchgrass that was genetically modified to reduce the lignin content and improve saccharification efficiency for better ethanol production.
What is your perception of agriculture now: Embracing a diverse portfolio of sustainable cultivation methods, whether for food or fuels production, is necessary if we wish to become better stewards of the environment.
How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities: It has given me the ability to acquire the research experience working in laboratories and with state of the art technologies that are necessary in a competitive job market. Furthermore, it has put me in contact with the scientists and researchers that are at the vanguard of the science of biofuels, biomaterials, and agricultural production in general.
Career and research aspirations: I am currently involved in organic fruit and vegetable production at the FIU Organic Garden and am looking to find a position in a start-up farm, managed by a Baptist Health Hospital in South Florida, to help improve hospital food and beverages. My long-term career and research goals are to be a part of an organization committed to sustainable agricultural and environmental protection and education.
Skill Set: Fully Bilingual (Spanish and English) – Organic Fruit and Vegetable Farming – Arboricultural Pruning – Installing Drip Irrigation Systems – Volunteer Management – Leading Guided Hikes – Chemistry Laboratory Techniques – Impact Testing Systems – MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel – 87 WPM
The impact of my career experience: Internships are a valuable tool that have provided me the confidence, knowledge and skills to continue striving for more and better career opportunities that integrate my passion for sustainability.