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Minimum GPA: 2.75

Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2021


Jessica Hawkey

Cornell Affiliations:

Agriculture and Life Sciences


Opportunity Description

Note: CALS Global Fellows internship opportunities will be remote for the summer 2021 experience. This is our second year of connecting our students globally, remotely. Students can anticipate a remote opportunity that engages them with partners abroad, while adding a unique experience to their resume. GFP remains focused on its mission of global connectivity. If you are unsure if a remote internship is the right fit for you, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with the CALS Global Fellows advisor prior to submitting an application.

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.

The program includes three required parts: a pre-engagement course the second half of Spring semester (ALS 2300 1 credit, S/U), a continuous 7-8 week internship or research placement in an international setting, and a post-engagement course in Fall semester (ALS 2301 1 credit, S/U).

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

Placement Opportunities

Placements: 2

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 project is looking at the impacts of farmers’ ecological farm practices on wild biodiversity (birds, bees and other beneficial insects), understanding local perceptions of biodiversity and working with communities to do long-term planning. All of the research is done in collaboration with farmers. Specific tasks will be worked out based on individual student interest and background. It is also possible that the Farmer Research and Training Center could provide student opportunities for supporting farmers in terms of farm management, such as demonstration gardens, and support for the organization.

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: some knowledge of one or more of the following: agroecology/sustainable agriculture in the Global South; participatory research; gender issues; child nutrition issues; entomology.
  • Preferred Qualifications: previous knowledge traveling in the Global South; knowledge of quantitative or qualitative research methods.

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.  

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.