Joseph Lanser, senior, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Environmental & Water Resource Economics (EWRE). Joseph shares his experience from his internship with SunFed in the spring and summer 2023. He speaks about the many accomplishments and skills he gained after interning with SunFed, to bring into his final year as an undergraduate and into his next journey to pursue his master’s degree.
Joseph began his internship with SunFed in February 2023, working alongside the CEO of SunFed and a few others in the Sales and Marketing team on data analysis. As Joseph explained, “SunFed’s role in the market is essentially the middleman between growers and stores; They buy produce in bulk from growers of many different commodities such as squash, bell pepper, watermelon, tomato, and many more. After buying this product in bulk they then sell it to stores, thus making a profit. SunFed’s mission is to lead the industry in fresh and high-quality fruits and vegetables.”
He was able to complete this internship remotely, therefore, completing it while attending school, at home, and during vacations. Working hand-and-hand with the other individuals on the Sales and Marketing team, Joseph was creating daily revenue reports of sales and tackling several additional projects.
After only two months, Joseph was asked to help with a task that would be used for a potentially large customer the next morning. Joseph goes on to say, “I had only been with SunFed for 2 months at that point, and it was a daunting task to be trusted to accurately operate their data system in order to do some statistical analysis on SunFed’s most consistent produce suppliers/growers. I stayed up pretty late that night after I got off work in order to not only accurately pull and analyze data, but also make it professional looking and presentable since this was to essentially be used as a presentation. It might not have been perfect, but I was extremely proud to have pulled that off and it felt good to do something of high stakes in the professional world.”
Joseph had three takeaways from the internship that he explained the hardships and rewards. The first one is presentation, he went on to say, “Whether the presentation comes in the form of an Excel sheet, PowerPoint, or verbal conversation, a great presentation can save a boring analysis and a bad presentation can ruin a great one.”
Secondly, that collecting data can be difficult. Joseph said, “Finding accurate, trustworthy, and usable data was certainly the hardest part of this internship for me. However, it has also been extremely rewarding to see myself getting better and being able to find usable data much more efficiently than before.”
Lastly, Joseph explained his third challenge, which was the idea of operating in the professional world. He wrote, “While I have worked many jobs at restaurants through high school and college, it is a completely different experience working for a company that operates at typical Monday-Friday hours and consists of many people with similar yet competitive backgrounds. It is certainly intimidating, but gaining comfort and experience in interacting with people at this level might be one of the most beneficial aspects of the internship for me.”
Joseph’s internship with SunFed led to him gaining confidence in his desire to pursue a master’s degree. He concluded, “This internship has inspired me to do more than the standard analysis, and I was able to realize that I want to continue studying data and policy analysis in order to acquire higher leveled skills and techniques. I think that this concept of past and future preparation is my greatest accomplishment at this internship because without this internship I don’t know if I would have been able to identify my past preparation and desire for an even higher level of education.”