Avery Moyler is a Masters student at the University of Virginia, Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, who completed an internship in agricultural policy in Summer 2017, working alongside landowners, farmers, and a Kauai County Councilman. Avery worked on a few special projects, including farmworker housing policy, Important Ag Land (IAL) designation research, and the 2017 Kauai Farmer Survey.
Q: What was your favorite part of your internship?
A: I don’t think there was one particular thing because it was all so wonderful. I truly enjoyed how hands-on the internship was, both in my policy work as well as in the agriculture and gardening work I was able to take part in. My internship consisted of a lot of community organizing and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with people in the community, learn from them, and hopefully be of service to them. I also loved the Thursday field trips to various farms on the island. I learned so much from the farmers, all incredibly experienced and respected people who were gracious to let us learn from them.
Q: What were you most excited about accomplishing during your internship?
A: I was happy that I was able to set up meetings related to farmworker housing policy and hopefully get some movement on the issue.
Q: What did you enjoy most about being on Kauai?
A: Being outside all the time!
Q: What surprised you most about living on Kauai?
A: The cane spiders and cockroaches. I was not prepared for that. But I guess a better answer would be how easy the living was. Granted, at first the adjustment was a little difficult but being gracious and patient made living on the island very easy – the people and the island were always there for me as long as I was kind and unassuming. Everyone is very helpful and selfless and based on my life experience so far, I think that’s very difficult to find.
Q: What type of professional skills did you gain through your internship?
A: I gained a lot of skills in community organizing. Also, I gained skills in being self-directed and staying on task, and even determining what my tasks were at times.
Q: How do you feel this internship helped with your future career and life goals?
A: While I was working for Malama Kauai, people would ask me what sort of job I want when I graduate or what I want to do with my life and I would just respond, “This.” I was able to find and experience exactly the type of work I want to be doing in the future and I am very grateful for that.
Q: If you had advice for a future intern, what would it be?
A: Make sure that your project and goals are well-defined before you arrive. Mine and all the other intern’s projects were well-defined and it made it easy to stay on task while working in an office where people are working on so many different and interesting projects. Also, spend time getting to know the organization and the island before you insert yourself in anything.