A summer in Uganda

October 22, 2018

Megan Kemp spent the summer before her senior year in Kamuli district, Uganda, where she was the Agronomy Intern for Iowa State University - Uganda Program. She conducted a small study on the cultural considerations of agricultural recommendations given through the Uganda Program. Megan interviewed women farmers, where she learned about their culture and how it is interconnected with agriculture. While conducting her study, she also gained insight into careers in agricultural extension. She was able to shadow ISU-UP’s agronomy and land use specialist, Moureen Mbezia, and youth entrepreneurship specialist Martin Lukwata. Megan also got the experience of teaching Primary 6 Agriculture classes and worked in the school gardens twice a week at Namasagali College Staff’s Children Primary School.

When asked what Megan liked most about her job, she said she enjoyed being immersed in a completely different culture and environment.

"I was able to combine my passions for community involvement, sustainable agriculture, and cultural competence into one for my internship."

She also loved being able to see first-hand the impact that ISU-UP has on rural communities through meeting, interviewing, and working with their clients.  Megan really enjoyed teaching as well, and getting to know her pupils at primary school. Those experiences have allowed Megan to learn more about the challenges that her pupils face in rural education and how many opportunities she has been fortunate to have in her own life.

"I hold memories from living, working, and learning with the other service learning students and interns from Iowa State University and Makerere University near and dear to my heart," Megan says about her summer experience. 

Her time at Iowa State and in the Department of Agronomy prepared Megan for this role by the curriculum that views agriculture and sustainability as complex, nuanced systems helped her to analyze natural, social, economic, and human aspects of the farms she visited. And some of her favorite experiences with the Department of Agronomy, would include studying abroad, including going to Panama with her former advisor Dr. Russell Mullen. Megan’s decision to go to Iowa State and choosing to be in Agronomy opened so many doors for her that she didn’t even know would become possibilities for her.

The World Hunger Solver is very involved on campus. Megan serves as president of Iowa State’s Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Science chapter, otherwise known as MANRRS. She is also a member of the Lead It collective, Leaders Enhancing Agriculture, Diversity, Inclusion and Trust. Megan’s advice to current student is to not be afraid to step outside of their comfort zone and take a travel course or study abroad.

As of now, Megan’s future plans are not set in stone, but she hopes to pursue experience in extension work. She wants to focus her career on helping underserved communities gain access to knowledge and innovation.