Immersion Trips

Exploring the Food Industry in Baltimore & the Chesapeake Bay

In connection with the Gettysburg College “Year of Food,” members of the Center for Career Development staff developed a novel, multilayered immersion trip and planned various experiences for students during the latter part of the Spring 2017 semester.

To kick it off, on April 25th, alumna Maribeth Black, ’07, who works for the World Food Bank in Rome, shared her career experiences with students. She attended classes and facilitated an open session. Next, on April 28th, we invited students to join staff members at an information session/Meet & Greet at the Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit in Westminster, MD, to learn about the financial operations and job/internship opportunities.

The last component of the experience, which took place May 16-18, was an immersion trip to the Chesapeake Bay & Baltimore, MD for a group of 7students.  On the first day, the group traveled to Tilghman Island to explore the Phillips Wharf Environmental Center and cruise on a skipjack vessel in the Chesapeake Bay to learn and experience oyster farming from political, environmental, and economic perspectives. The students had dinner with alumni Justin ’04, & Lauren (Rapoza) ’06 Greer to learn more about the oyster industry and particularly how Lauren’s role as a science teacher has given her a unique perspective on the industry.

Day 2 was a busy one for the group. Our first stop was Pompeian Oil, where the students learned about the mission and values of the company, the various career opportunities that exist, and how the oils and vinegars are sourced from international sites and processed on-site in Baltimore. Next, the group had the opportunity to eat lunch at historic Lexington Market with alumna Judith Brown, ‘91, where they also learned about business development and the economic and political impact of food on the city of Baltimore. Finally, at the American Visionary Art Museum, the group observed the “Yummm! The History, Fantasty, & Future of Food” exhibit which not only imparted valuable knowledge about food sources and issues from around the world, but also helped them to see how food can be viewed as an art form medium.

On Day 3, the group was privileged to gain a rare glimpse into the Domino Sugar facility, which does not offer tours to the general public. There, they learned how sugar cane was sourced, shipped to the port of Baltimore, and processed into the various types of sugar products available on the market. With community stewardship as a main value of the company, the group also gained insight into all of the ways that the company gives back to Baltimore and maintains a “family atmosphere” among all their facility sites across the country. The students then conducted presentations and received feedback on their knowledge and skills from two alumni, Len Gemma ‘81, and Victoria Lee,‘05.

The students reported positive personal outcomes for themselves as participants in the trip. As Kendall Thompson, ’20, said, “We were able to accomplish many diverse activities in a short time frame that opened my eyes…to the working world in a new perspective.” In addition, Mark Manu, ’19, who appreciated the opportunities for networking, stated, “…[N]etworking with the people you encounter is very important because you may never know how they can help you in the future.”