A Postcard From: Elena Luedy ’19

Name: Elena Luedy
Class Year: 2019
Major: Growth and Structure of Cities
Hometown: Canton, Mich.
Job Title: Intern Assistant on the Oasis Project
Location: Detroit

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I am working for a nonprofit organization focusing on the adaptation of their current aquaponic systems for urban use, specifically in the Great Lakes region. My work at the moment is primarily research-based, examining projects similar to this on local, domestic, and global scales. As my internship progresses, I will begin to assist in the generation of an economic report and model based on my findings, the application of grants for continuation of this project, and compiling materials for launching a crowdfunding campaign.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Growing up in the Detroit metropolitan area, the city of Detroit holds a special place in my heart. To be able to work on a project that supports the city has been incredibly important to me, and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to not only give back to my community but to explore areas that I am interested in, for instance urban farming, the impact it has on food security, and what that means for Detroiters’ everyday lives.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship so far has been the ability to see how the simple act of starting a community garden has impacted so many lives. This internship really has shown me the power grassroots movements have in impacting local communities, something I think that often goes unnoticed in our day-to-day lives. Today more than ever I believe that it is important to show that you don’t have to be a major politician or CEO of a company; even just a small group of people can make meaningful change in people’s lives. To me, being able to witness this first hand has been the most meaningful aspect of the internship I’m working on, and something I hope to take with me as I continue with both my professional and academic life.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

This internship has differed slightly from what I anticipated, as I initially was going to be working on the specific systems to better understand how they reacted to the local climate. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, the pilot system was unable to be created in time. This has, however, allowed me to pursue other aspects of the project which may prove beneficial to my future academic endeavors; for example, I am able to work on the research and generation of an economic model that will assist in the application of grants and other research opportunities. I believe this will be incredibly valuable information, especially for future professional opportunities. Additionally, this change was made at the beginning of my internship, thus making the transition easier.