Understanding Barriers and Opportunities for Extending IPM Programming to Spanish-speaking Audiences in NYC

The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program teaches the general public about practical IPM solutions to pest problems through monthly, virtual, 30-minute presentations. These pest problems include garden insect pests, ticks, bed bugs, cockroaches, mice in buildings, and much more.

While What’s Bugging You First Fridays has been very successful in reaching white, rural, English-speaking audiences, the self-reported racial/ethnic diversity of attendees does not match the demographics of New York State (currently the state from which the largest number of participants register). Furthermore, attendance at Spanish-language First Friday events continues to be very low despite promotion through traditional Extension channels (e.g., social media, and university-associated e-mail lists).

To address these concerns, the NYSIPM Program is partnering with Cornell University Cooperative Extension - NYC to learn how their educators and staff connect with the urban and Spanish-speaking audiences they serve. We have applied for funding that would support hosting focus groups with CUCE-NYC staff and educators to learn about the methods used to reach their audiences.

Roles and responsibilities 

In addition to learning from educators who work with urban Spanish-speaking audiences about the best ways to reach them, we also very much want to learn from the Spanish-speaking community how we could make our First Friday programming more accessible and appealing to them. What are the barriers to their participation? What would motivate or enable them to participate?

We are seeking a bilingual (Spanish, English) intern to conduct qualitative interviews in Spanish with community members. The intern will also (virtually) attend monthly What’s Bugging You First Friday events during the summer of 2024, and will receive remote mentoring from Matt Frye and Amara Dunn-Silver (on-campus mentor) who run the First Friday program. Training and mentoring in interview skills will be provided by CUCE-NYC staff and this position will be based in New York City.

Qualifications and previous coursework

This opportunity is available to non-graduating students in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  • Student must be fluent in Spanish (spoken and written).

Learning outcomes 

During the internship, the student intern will:

  • Learn skills and tools for conducting and summarizing qualitative interviews
  • Develop science communication skills (oral and poster creation/presentation)
  • Learn about common community pest concerns – pests encountered where people live, work, learn, and play
  • Learn about practical IPM strategies to help people address these pest issues while reducing risks to themselves and the environment