Education News

Intern Assists Study of Agricultural Systems

2010-04-23

This spring semester, the internships offered by the Earth Institute have afforded many students opportunities to build upon their work in the classroom while gaining professional development experience. Students working within departments or on ongoing projects at the Earth Institute contribute to the success of the Earth Institute through their hard work and dedication.

Lily Kelly is a graduate student at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs where she is earning a master’s in environmental science and policy. In addition to her academic course load, this semester Lily has been working with the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment program at the Earth Institute under the guidance of Professor Roseline Remans. Though her work, Lily has been an important part of a new effort to develop global metrics for agricultural systems, including both ecological and social indicators, for open use. The outcome of the project is expected to be an extensive database and mapping information tool accessible to NGOs and governments around the world. The metrics Lily is working on will, when finished, spatially express the statuses of the many indicators related to agricultural systems, such as fertilizer use, crop yield, water availability and many others.

Her contribution includes an extensive review and assessment of existing agro-ecological research networks. Lily has been instrumental in developing the strategy to build stakeholder buy-in for the project within the Earth Institute and among its many international partners. Lily’s efforts at the beginning of this vitally important collaborative project have given her the opportunity to put her training into practice. Lily explains that in her work, coordinating and researching, “I have been able to apply my training in science, politics and management, gained through my degree program, to practical use for a project of international import.”