Internship Spotlight: Allison Arnold

Ally is a second-year AFE student who interned at the Food Hub for New Entry Sustainable Farming Project. Here she shares her insights, experience, and advice with the Friedman community.

How did you land your internship? (e.g., networking, searching on the BCC job board, etc.) 

Upon relocating to Boston, I initiated my quest for involvement in the local food landscape by researching “Boston food hubs,” leveraging my prior experience as Director of Business Development for a food hub in Colorado. Naturally, Tufts’ New Entry Sustainable Farming Project piqued my interest, particularly as a prospective student. My introduction to New Entry occurred through participation in the Fall Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which I shared with my Southie roommates.

During my first year, I seized the opportunity to contribute as a Work Study participant, serving as a Data Analysis Intern throughout the Winter and Spring semesters. Subsequently, upon the posting of summer positions, I secured a full-time staff role as Food Hub Assistant Manager. My suitability for this staff position not only provided me with a substantial income upgrade compared to an internship but also underscored my commitment to the New Entry community during my academic pursuits.

I attribute my successful attainment of this role to a blend of unwavering passion, confidence in my capabilities, and sustained dedication to the mission of New Entry throughout my educational journey.

What did you enjoy about your internship? What did you find challenging?

In this position, I acquired significant management experience and assumed financial accountability for driving business development initiatives, thereby augmenting my readiness for future entrepreneurial endeavors. The management of on-site operations was particularly demanding, as I operated autonomously due to the remote nature of my manager who was on maternity leave. A notable highlight of my summer tenure involved presenting at the Agricultural Marketing Conference in Washington, D.C. Additionally, conducting cooking demonstrations for seniors was a rewarding aspect of my role.

What are the necessary soft and hard skills needed for this position? 

During my internship tenure at New Entry Food Hub, I orchestrated the coordination of a comprehensive Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program alongside a wholesale produce initiative. This involved the meticulous sourcing of produce from beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers situated within the North Shore region of Massachusetts, and subsequent distribution to diverse clientele including individuals, schools, food banks, senior centers, and restaurants.

Operating from June through October, I spearheaded the procurement of produce directly from local farmers, while simultaneously overseeing customer relations and providing guidance to volunteers engaged in the packing process within the warehouse. This multifaceted role demanded adept organizational skills, effective communication, and strong management of logistical intricacies to ensure the successful execution of both the CSA and wholesale programs.

The role requires attention to detail, knowledge of warehouse operations, coaching, strong documentation, and excellent communication skills.

If you could offer one piece of internship search advice to your peers, what would it be?  

My advice to all people searching for an internship is to pitch your previous experience and negotiate for the role you want! My ability to negotiate my way into a staff position helped me earn more than I otherwise would have. After the summer internship, I stayed on as a part-time employee during my second year. In this capacity, I created the annual report and business plan for the food hub, aggregating ten years of historical data and making projections for the future. This continuous dedication to the organization during my two years as a graduate student landed me a full-time position after graduation.

By Alex Kaplan
Alex Kaplan Student Ambassador