Name: Maya Faulstich-Hon
Concentration: Environmental Science
Maya has been engaged with social change work through the iProv internship program and the Social Innovation Fellowship. Read on to learn more about Maya’s experiences with community engaged work and social ventures supported by the Swearer Center for Public Service.
What kind of research experiences, internships, or fellowships have you been involved with during college?
After my sophomore year, I interned with Farm Fresh Rhode Island through the Swearer Center‘s iProv Internship program. iProv pairs students with organizations in Rhode Island that work towards creating social change in a variety of sectors. As part of my internship, I worked on a nutrition education program for low-income families called Healthy Foods, Healthy Families.
Then, more recently, I became involved with a social venture called Kulisha that produces a sustainable form of fish feed made from insects for use on aquaculture farms in Kenya. I’ve been working on it for about a year, and we’ve been supported by the Social Innovation Fellowship.
How have these experiences shaped your goals and plans for the future?
Through these two very different experiences that are both related to food access and food security, I’ve been able to explore different sides of a similar issue. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned so much about myself: how I work on a team, how I deal with conflict, what sort of tasks I like to do and what I put off for weeks.
What was your favorite part of or an interesting story about a research experience, internship, or fellowship you participated in?
Though I started working on Kulisha in the fall of my junior year, I didn’t actually go to Kenya and begin growing bugs until the following summer, through the Social Innovation Fellowship. It felt so good to finally be doing what we’d been saying we were doing for nearly a year and learning about this amazing insects in real-life that we’d spent so long researching.
Do you have any advice for students looking to potentially pursue opportunities similar to what you’ve pursued?
First of all, don’t get caught up in the pressure to be DOING something. There is no reason for you to be stressing out about developing your professional career in your freshman or sophomore year.
If you’re like freshman me and are horribly overwhelmed by the plethora of internships, fellowships, and research opportunities out there but also feel hopelessly incompetent and undeserving of any of them, stop. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You also don’t have to know exactly what you want to do or what you’re passionate about; these experiences are meant for you to push and prod, explore and investigate, and learn about yourself.
That being said, there are so many opportunities out there. Start by talking to people and browsing the internet. The CRC is an incredible place staffed by very friendly people who can help, and if you’re interested in anything vaguely related to public service or social change, definitely browse the Swearer Center‘s website and talk to anyone there!