Nicolette Albright, Purdue University 2011 Summer

My summer internship at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens surpassed all my expectations. From my first day up until my last, I looked forward to waking up and going to work. The staff and volunteers keep me busy and not a day went by that I did not learn something new. I was given responsibilities that most interns do not have the opportunity to be undertaking. I was able to learn the large scale responsibilities of running and caring for a botanical garden, as well as the more intimate outreaching programs to both children and adults.  With the unfortunate passing of the founder, Betty Ford herself, I also witnessed the most moving and memorable night.  Hundreds of people participated in a candlelight walk in her honor through in the gardens. At this time of mourning it was inspiring to see a tremendous amount of people come together to pay respect and celebrate this woman and her contributions to this wonderful place.

By the end of the summer I definitely increased my horticulture, botanic, and problem-solving skills by ten-fold from the daily hands-one experience and mentoring. The confidence and friendship I have gained from this summer internship has been life changing. The entire staff and dedicated volunteers made me feel like I was a part of their family. I am proud to say I have worked with all of them and I would definitely do it all over again if I could.

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