Hi everyone! My name is Jolo Cadiz! I’m an incoming junior majoring in Community, Environment, and Development and minoring in International Agriculture and Global Health. I am an international student from the Philippines, so up until now, I haven’t adjusted to the cold State College weather. However, it doesn’t beat the warm smiles of people and the welcoming spirit of the town, which I have begun to appreciate just recently. 

Being born and raised in a country where agriculture is large but not developed, I gained an interest in the economics, policies, and technical aspects of rural and small-holder farming. While I have never worked on a farm before, I am really excited to get my hands dirty with my fellow interns! What I am most excited about is being able to interact with volunteers and the community that takes part in the initiative to promote sustainable agriculture. Sustainability in agriculture for me means focusing on the present without sacrificing the future. With climate change affecting the food and water supply around the world, and most especially affecting the most vulnerable populations, the need for sustainable agriculture now is more important than ever. 

Back in high school, I would always hear the words “community” and “service”. We were encouraged at first to go on service trips, but eventually, it became a passion of mine to help those in need.  I would go on to volunteer a lot and without a doubt, interacting with the communities and its peoples I worked with are what I cherish and will remember forever. Most of them seem helpless at first. They keep on asking for help, but it comes to a point where it becomes frustrating when no progress is made. But sometimes, it just takes a little patience and understanding to uplift these people who for a long time have been deprived of the opportunities to be successful. After a while, they become eager to support themselves and others. And that’s what community is all about. 

Working with these communities has helped my development as a leader who listens to and understands people. Leadership for me is being able to uplift others with myself. Being able to remove yourself from a high position and becoming one with those “under you” for me are the most important aspects of being a leader. I embody this by living by the saying of Eleanor Roosevelt, “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”