Intern Profile: Joyce Liao

What is your position title? What year are you in and what are you studying?

My position is Communications Intern with the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems. I am currently in my 3rd year of my undergraduate degree in Global Resource Systems. My concentration is in “food systems planning”, where I am investigating the intersections of urban systems and food systems through a social justice lens.

What did you work on in this role?

I was responsible for a variety of tasks in my role including: creating graphics for print and online media, copy editing, interview write-ups, making website updates and creating social media posts. My biggest project during the internship involved illustrating icons as part of the CSFS re-branding campaign.

What did you learn in this position?

While I’ve learned hard skills in copy-editing, website coding and designing graphics, I’ve also gained many soft skills during this internship. I now have a better understanding of the kinds of tasks I enjoy doing; which often involves projects where I have a level of creative ownership and agency. I’ve also gained a much better understanding of what continuing in academia within food systems entails by spending time with Masters and Ph.D candidates in the office. This has informed me of my future steps; where I hope to steer my education and professional experiences.

Why does this work matter?

I really believe that communications plays a vital role in sharing what the CSFS is actively doing. Like any organization, being able to share knowledge and experiences is a core component of the connecting with others as well as displaying importance and uniqueness. Acknowledging the work that goes on behind the scenes in the communications team has informed me of how organizations structure themselves to work effectively.

What surprises you about this work?

I was surprised by the amount of ownership I was able to take on in the projects this internship provided. I appreciated the room I had to experiment and showcase my skills. I really appreciate how friendly the staff are and how supportive they are of my ideas. There was a lot of room to experiment and try new things. My supervisor provided a learning environment where going through an iterative design process was encouraged, allowing me to develop my design thinking skills.

What would you tell a new student taking on this role? Or, what do you wish you had known?

Ask questions! See where your talents and skills can be best put to use in the team. Look for areas where you would like to be challenged in order to gain new skills. Hang out with the team and talk to other people in the office! They are all incredibly nice and are genuinely interested in having good conversations. There are a bunch of researchers working on neat projects, so ask them what they’re up to!

What should people know about CSFS/UBC Farm that they probably don’t know?

I want people to know how warm and welcoming everyone at the CSFS is! I’ve had such a positive experience working here. It has been interesting to have connections with many of the employees at the CSFS, from going to the farm for classes as well as previous T.As. It’s been a real treat to get an insider view on how the CSFS operates as one of its team members. I appreciate so much more the labour and love that is poured into this organization.

What’s your favourite thing to do at the UBC Farm?

There are too many to choose from! I love the Saturday morning markets with live music and farm vendors. It’s a fun and welcoming place to be. The chickens are a must see!

Anything else you’d like to add? 

A big thank you to everyone who has supported me in my role here, for believing in my work and providing a space to learn and grow.

What other roles have you held at CSFS at the UBC Farm?

I will be continuing with the CSFS as part of the Children Programming team. I’m happy to be able to continue working alongside everyone here, but also excited to get out of the office and spend some time outdoors with vegetables and kiddos, two of my favourite things!