Meet Our Interns!


Want to get to know who helps run the R'Garden? Here's your chance! 



Intern in Orange Orchard

Hi! My name is Summaya Khugyani. I’m a fourth year Biology major. I work at the R’Garden because I want to help the department that has helped me so much, and give back to the student body that has made me feel so supported and at home. I’ve learned how to cultivate and weed, and I can’t wait to learn how to drive the tractor! After graduation, my plan is to work in medicine so that I can give back to my community. My involvement in the R’Garden helps me reach out to people and help to solve problems like food scarcity in my community. I want to make real change, and one of my jobs here at the garden is to spread awareness of the resources that the garden provides to students and neighborhood residents. I want to get our programs regularly and generously funded so that we can keep working to help people eat, learn, and grow!



Intern working on tractor

I’m Robert Cabral, I’m a second year physics major. I was interested in the garden because my grandpa used to have a garden where he grew trees, fruits, and vegetables. I loved going to his house and seeing all of his projects that included agriculture. I have learned how to ride a tractor, set up drip tapes and irrigation systems, and how to change the oil for a tractor I am excited to learn leadership skills which can help me in any field, while also learning how to grow food sustainably. I plan on going to grad school after my undergrad.





intern with worm on finger

My name is Brooke Gleason and I am a 2nd year Studio Art major. I applied to work at the R’Garden because I love to be outdoors and because the R’Garden provides fresh produce to those who would not otherwise have access to it, which I think is very important. My favorite skills that I have learned so far are how to operate our tractor and rototiller. I’m excited to learn more about how to take care of different vegetables and when to harvest them. My experience here so far has helped me become more involved on campus. I am also learning skills that I can implement in my everyday life such as creating my own garden.





Intern holding produce bin


My name is Artemio Rodriguez and I am a 4th year Sociology/Law and Society major. I applied to intern at the R’Garden because I love working with my hands and working outside. I also love being a part of an organization that strives to help its community. Since I started working here I have learned various new skills such as driving heavy vehicles, using different types of tools and how to properly plant seeds. I am very excited to learn how to cultivate a field and to find new and creative ways to further introduce the R’Garden to the community. The experience I have gained here as an intern has helped me sharpen my presentation and public speaking skills, which I find very valuable since I plan on going to law school in the upcoming year and eventually become an attorney.







Intern holding Bananas

Hello all, my name is Anthony Ruiz, though I prefer to go as Tony. I am a fourth year transfer student and transferred from East Los Angeles College. Being a transfer student, it truly plays a major role in my identity and is something I continue to be proud of. I am a 26 years old and reside in the city of El Sereno, in North East Los Angeles. I am majoring in Ethnic Studies while minoring in public policy and will be graduating this upcoming spring. I plan on returning to my community to help with various social problems that are taking place. I applied to work at the R’Garden for a number of reasons but overall to learn the fundamentals of gardening, as it is something that we can take with us and implement in our homes, communities, and various spaces across the board. Additionally, being able to learn how to plant and harvest your own produce, to me, is truly a great act of resistance. Following my time here at UCR and at the R’Garden, I plan on becoming involved with the community garden back home which has recently been established. To continue learning and create networks with various community gardens and their members.






Intern working on Broccoli row crops

I’m Seidy P. Gudino-Flores and I’m a second year Bioengineering Major. I applied to work at the R’garden because I want to learn the fundamentals of gardening. I started as a Butterfly Project intern for only a quarter and I was fortunate enough to be asked to stay as a permanent intern because I loved the work so much. I’ve learned about irrigation set up and maintenance. I enjoyed learning how to use a tractor and rototiller. I am very excited to learn about how to start up and care for a plant nursery. Team collaboration is a big part of keeping the R’garden running. I am happy to work with and learn from my fellow interns and that experience is priceless in all fields of study.





Intern on Tractor

Hi, my name is Elena Reyes Martinez and I was born in Mexico City then raised in South East Los Angeles. I joined the R’Garden just four months ago, and as a fourth year Sustainability Studies major my interest in the R’Garden was sparked through one of my classes, where for the first time I heard of the existence of the UCR community garden. After learning the location of the garden (section 3 of Lot 30), I became interested in learning how she could grow her on food to be more sustainable. Thus far, I have learned how to start seed trays, use our famous tractors, harvest tomatoes, strawberries and broccoli and of course wedding. In the future, I am most excited about seeing the growth of the many fruits and vegetables we plant here and to see and build connections with university staff and faculty as well as the Riverside community. After completing my bachelor’s degree, my hope is to find my way through Environmental International policy work.




Intern Bio Shot

Hi I’m Julia Perez and I’m a 4th year entomology major! My time at the R’Garden started in my second year, I took an R’Course in which I learned about our goals for alleviating food insecurity and how to farm sustainably. After a couple years of volunteering when I could, I was asked to join the internship program and I’ve been working here ever since. I love the work that we do and it’s one of the most gratifying jobs that I’ve ever had. Over the years I’ve learned how to grow produce in every season, use heavy equipment, and plan events. The R’Garden’s intern program has allowed me to have lots of hands on experience and has been extremely influential in helping me decide to pursue agricultural entomology.




Intern Tabling at Bell Tower

Hello! My name is Tasnia Akbar and I am a third year biology major here at UCR. While taking classes required for my major, I found myself being drawn to ecology and plant biology. Many individuals grow up having family game nights, however, in my family we made a tradition of family gardening days. Through this tradition, grew my love and interest in sustaining an outdoor world that would not only provide a safe escape for myself but also a world of fulfillment for my family and the community around us. Many of our family friends also have home gardens. We have used these gardens to help cultivate bonds and strengthen bridges between families and individuals alike. While being away from home, I found it difficult to find something that would fulfill such an important aspect of my life; until I found the R’Garden that is. I was immediately drawn to the environment and their goals to serve the community through efforts to create a space where food insecurity would no longer exist, and a place where everyone is welcome to learn about a more sustainable future, including how they can be a part of it. As an intern here at the garden, I have learned so much more than I could have imagined. I have not only built on my skills to set up irrigation systems, create planting beds and work in a greenhouse but I have also learned how to interact with the community around us. I have bonded with so many community members, simply by gardening with them. I have experienced unforgettable conversations and a sense of group victory when accomplishing goals together. I have learned to make every action matter, whether it be trying to help a community fight food insecurity or even something as simple as smiling and having a conversation with someone. These are the things that make a difference and the R’Garden has truly opened my eyes to this. A skill that I believe can lead any individual to a brighter and more positive future. I am excited to continue to learn more about agriculture and the impact that it has and will continue to have on the communities around us.





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