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Growing Food Activism

Clements Internship Award Allows Food Studies Graduate Student April Lopez to Advocate for Excluded and Immigrant Farm Workers
Protestors hold signs in front of a building

Activists, including Lopez, campaign on behalf of migrant workers.

“Moving across the country in pursuit of my master’s degree in food studies was a very risky but meaningful decision. I wanted to get more involved in the local workers’ movement, as much of my academic interests and personal background align with labor rights of agricultural migrant workers,” says April Lopez G’23.

The Mark and Pearle Clements Internship Award allowed her to pursue a summer internship combining her passions of food and activism. “Bridging that connection led to an internship where I was responsible for assisting different efforts focused on improving working conditions for immigrant low-wage workers in the state of New York, who were severely and negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lopez says. “This would not have been possible without the Clements Award. The funding made it possible for me to stay in Syracuse for the summer, lobbying for a permanent unemployment fund for excluded workers, health care for all and legal services for immigrant workers.”

Two young women hold signs that say Pass NY 4 All.
April Lopez G’23 was able to pursue a summer internship in the food justice movement thanks to the Mark and Pearle Clements Internship Award.

Mark and Pearle Clements Internship Award is open for juniors, seniors and graduate students of any major seeking to further their career development through undertaking self-obtained unique internship opportunities. The award provides students with financial assistance to help in the pursuit of their unique professional goals.

Awards may range from $1,500 to $6,000, crucial for students who may not have the money needed to pay for internship-related travel, accommodations, required materials or living expenses. Erin Smith ’15, Syracuse University Career Services internship program coordinator, knows how pivotal this award is for ambitious students.

“The Mark and Pearle Clements Award is a special honor for Syracuse University students who go above and beyond by proactively planning for and creating unique summer experiences,” says Smith. “It is a privilege to oversee the application process for such an impactful award.”

Winning students are able to use the award to pursue unique internships that directly related to their professional interests. In doing so, they received extraordinary hands-on opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise. Among all awardees, gratitude is expressed not only for the support of the award but also for the experiences and industry connections gained along the way.

Learn more about the Clements Internship Awards.