Minimum GPA: 2.75

Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2024

Cornell Affiliations:

Agriculture and Life Sciences


Opportunity Description

The CALS Global Fellows Program supports CALS undergraduate students from any major in pursuit of challenging, professionally-focused summer internships and research placements that enhance and complement their career goals and academic progress, while enriching their undergraduate experience with diverse cultural and international immersion. Through key partnerships, the Global Fellows Program provides a platform for students to make positive and definable contributions to global organizations and communities.

Acceptance to the program is competitive and a limited number of students are selected each year. 

Students who are accepted into the CALS Global Fellows Program will be required to complete 3 parts to the program:

  • 3 in-person Spring 2024 pre-engagement workshops focusing on health and safety, cultural awareness and logistics; 
  • a continuous 7–8-week internship or research placement in an international setting,
  • and a 1-credit post-engagement course in the first 7 weeks of the Fall 2024 semester (ALS/GDEV 3105).


Information Session:

  • CALS Engaged Symposium on Thursday, October 19 from 4-5:30pm.  Location: Mann B75


The program includes three required parts: a pre-engagement portfolio (completed in Canvas), a continuous 7–8-week internship or research placement in an international setting, and a 1-credit post-engagement course in the first 7 weeks of the Fall 2024 semester (ALS/GDEV 3105).

Placement Opportunities

Placements: 2-4 (in-person)

The Soils, Food and Healthy Communities project is a participatory, farmer-led organization which uses agroecological methods to improve food security and nutrition in Malawi.

The SFHC project in Ekwendeni, northern Malawi, began in 2000 with thirty farmers, and is now working with over 4000 farmers. It is a participatory project, in which farmers try to improve soil fertility, food security and nutrition through the use of grain or perennial legumes (e.g. peanut or soyabean). The legumes fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, such that when the leaves and roots are incorporated directly into the soil they add nitrogen, other nutrients and organic matter. Farmers can then grow another crop in the improved soil the following year (e.g. maize) and eat the edible grain legume. Subsequently it is hoped that this will lead to an increased food productivity which will in turn enhance food availability within households of resource-poor farmers, which is part of what defines house hold food security.

The FARMS for Biodiversity is looking for a student interested in Ecology or Entomology doing participatory research with farmers. The student would work with the FARMS for Biodiversity and Participatory Forest Inventories for Climate Change Adaptation projects, by carrying out bee and possibly other pollinator surveys in forests and neighbouring farms. The research would help inform community climate change adaptation and forest regeneration plans being developed by the Soils, Food and Healthy Communities organization in at least 10 villages in northern Malawi. The student would work closely with farmer researchers and staff alongside Dr. Katja Poveda and Dr. Rachel Bezner Kerr. .

The students will start being supported even before they come to Malawi by having orientation with Dr. Bezner Kerr, and regular meetings with her lab and research groups to become familiar with the work and plan research activities. SFHC will provide them with invitation letters, arrangements of transport and accommodation in Malawi. Upon arrival a planning meeting is arranged for the students and the team to discuss the schedule for the students and that becomes the first orientation meeting. The student is again oriented in the community by introducing the student to the community leaders and farmers. Ongoing support is provided virtually by the faculty advisor (Dr. Rachel Bezner Kerr) in the field, and in person by Esther Lupafya.

  • Desired Qualifications: Ideally, the student will have a background in ecology and/or entomology and have international travel experience in rural areas of the Global South with interest/experience in agroecology/sustainable agriculture in the Global South; participatory research; gender issues; child nutrition issues; entomology.
  • Preferred Qualifications: The student should be someone who can work as part of a diverse participatory interdisciplinary team, and work independently at times. They should be flexible, have a sense of humour, adventure, patience and respect for different cultures, knowledge and types of expertise, previous knowledge traveling in the Global South; knowledge of quantitative or qualitative research methods.

Suggested majors and/or professional interests: Development Sociology, IARD, Environment & Sustainability, Entomology, Agriculture Sciences, focus on food security, and rural development

About Malawi

Malawi, located in southeastern Africa is endowed with spectacular highlands and extensive lakes, it occupies a narrow, curving strip of land along the East African Rift Valley. Lake Nyasa, known in Malawi as Lake Malawi, accounts for more than one-fifth of the country’s total area. Mzuzu, the regional capital, is the only town of any size in North Malawi. Though still dwarfed by those to the south, it is growing rapidly now. Livingstonia Mission and Karonga and the Bandawe Misison near Chintheche are sites of historical interest and the lakeshore is dotted with interesting fishing villages as well as the larger, bustling port of Nkhata Bay.

We encourage you to apply to your first-choice program only. There is a space within the application to indicate if you have a second choice. If you are interested in two opportunities that are very different from one another and would prefer to write two statements of purpose, you may upload both to the same application in ONE document. Make sure they are clearly titled with the correct placement opportunity IF you are writing two statements. For reference, click here to review examples of statements from past participants.    

You may preview the application without starting an application by clicking on the “preview application” button next to the apply button. All applications contain the same questions and all information related to the program can be found within the experience page. There is no additional information within the application.