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  • CALS Global Fellows Program
  • Department of Communication

For the past five years, the CALS Global Fellows Program (GFP) has worked with international partners to create meaningful, professionally-focused internships and research opportunities for undergraduate students in any major in CALS and Dyson. Due to COVID-19, this summer the students found new ways to gain a global perspective from home.

Below, three of the 2020 Global Fellows share insights about their remote, international experiences.

2020 Global Fellows

Emma Badini ’20

Major: Interdisciplinary Studies


This past summer, I worked remotely as a research, analysis and development intern for a sustainable education center in Uruguay. My work was quite interdisciplinary, involving agroecological and sociological research and analysis. The agroecological research involved sports turfgrass management, rotational grazing and bio-remediation of heavy metals in soils. My sociological research primarily focused on the sociopolitical resilience of solidarity economies and community food systems during COVID-19. I co-authored a paper with my primary supervisor, broadly comparing solidarity economies in the U.S. and in Uruguay.

How were you able to have a meaningful experience from afar?

The structure of the GFP helped me engage in meaningful reflection throughout the summer, both individually and with my peers, which definitely resulted in a more meaningful experience. Once we realized our internships would be remote, we met and brainstormed best practices for remote work. This preparation, along with the openness of my peers and our mentors, helped me navigate the newness of working remotely.

Through the GFP, I was paired with Puentes Abroad, which not only connected me with my internship, but also offered weekly cohort calls, presentations on Argentine and Uruguayan culture, and Spanish lessons, which absolutely enhanced the experience.

One of the most meaningful elements of the internship was my close relationship with my primary supervisor. She and I communicated regularly via WhatsApp, often sending each other audio messages about the projects I was working on and about different life events that intersected with our work. I loved being able to communicate openly and honestly about how our values inform our work, how work culture in the United States and Uruguay compares, and about life in general. She remains my mentor now, even after the internship has ended.

2020 Global Fellows

Winny Sun ’20

Major: Communication


During summer 2020, I interned for a small social enterprise company in Thailand called Jasberry, whose goal is to lift small-scale farmers out of poverty. The company teaches farmers how to grow organic and highly nutritional Jasberry rice by providing training on everything from planting the seeds to exporting products abroad. As the marketing intern, I helped market their products to a global audience through social media, content and influencer marketing. 

What surprised you most about your remote global experience?

I was surprised by how smooth the global internship went, despite the pandemic. Even though I couldn’t travel to Thailand to personally experience the culture, I still learned a lot about the country through my virtual interactions with colleagues, business partners and social media influencers. I look forward to one day visiting the country, and in the meantime, I will continue to cultivate my cultural knowledge. 

2020 Global Fellows

Matthew Ponticiello ’20

Major: Global and Public Health Science


I was the science communication intern at the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI), which is part of CALS and hosted by the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. My primary function was to distill scientific papers produced by TCI into more accessible and widely understandable blog posts — bridging the gap between our scientists and the general public.

What advice would you give to students working globally, remotely next summer?

Connect as much as possible with your mentors over Zoom, so that you can still build those meaningful connections from afar. Since you are not in a traditional workplace where you can have regular contact with supervisors and colleagues, it’s really important to reach out regularly. The connections and conversations can still inform your cultural knowledge of the country, and of course, help you conduct your internship duties more effectively.

Emma standing and smiling while holding carrots.
Winny Sun
Matthew Ponticiello crouching in a barn next to cows

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