Name: Melanie Vasquez-Parrado
Hometown: Miami Beach, FL
Institution: Florida International University (FIU)
Campus: Modesto Maidique Campus
Major: B.S. Environmental Studies
Expected date of graduation: August 2014
Degree: Bachelor of Science
USDA Agency of interest: Agricultural Research Service- ARS, Forest Service, Wildlife Services
Career cxperience/location: During my time in the Agroecology Program, I was fortunate enough to become a summer intern at the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station as a part of the USDA-ARS agency located in Pinecrest, Florida.
Description of career experience (what I learned): While interning at the ARS, I worked in a variety of projects which included work such as phenotypic data collection of mango cultivars in the Curatorial Lab, to venturing out into the field, where species collections took place.
What is your perception of agriculture now: Prior to entering the program, my knowledge of agriculture was minimal. After being exposed to the science of sustainable agriculture, I learned not only of its evident importance, but have learned how to apply these concepts to related sciences, which are relevant to my interests such as biodiversity conservation and ecological biology.
How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities: Without the assistance of the program and its coordinators, the experience I’ve gained thus far would not have been possible. The conferences, extracurricular activities, professional development workshops, and internships have granted us the experience needed to further our education and thrive as upcoming professionals.
Career and research aspirations: I am currently working towards my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies where I expect to graduate following the Summer Term of 2014. In the next five years, I see myself with a Master’s Degree; I aspire to further my education in a science related field. I have high hopes for the future, I look forward to work in a field where I cannot only share my knowledge, but to apply those acquired skills to enhance future environmental conditions. As a traveler, I am always open to gaining knowledge that can serve for a more sustainable future worldwide. I have turned my love for the environment into a career fit for me.
Skill Set: Computer skills - Data management – Organizational skills - Phenotypic data collection – Laboratory experience – Lab tools - Communication –