Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Alex Ball

Mary Gates Leadership Scholar, Spring 2023


Leadership Project: UW Farm Campus Food Systems Internship

Leadership Project Description: I worked with UW Farm staff and groups of student volunteers to coordinate, harvest, package, and deliver organic produce to UW dining outlets on a weekly basis. I also communicated with heads of UW dining to set up an end-of-year meeting and discuss their relationship with the UW Farm for the coming year.


What have you learned throughout your leadership project and experience?

Working on a small-scale organic farm has taught me proper harvest, washing, and packaging processes for produce. Through managing groups of student and community volunteers on the farm, I also gained valuable leadership experience. Finally, the project of setting up a meeting between the UW Farm and UW dining taught me how to communicate in a professional setting.

What advice do you have for future Mary Gates Leadership applicants?

Even if your project doesn’t align with your exact career goals, see it as an opportunity to learn new skills and broaden your perspective. This may even change your path, and at the very least will make you more valuable to future employers.


Besides developing myself professionally and personally, I had so much fun working with the UW Farm. I loved the connections I made with both my coworkers, and the dozens of students that volunteered their valuable time to help us out at the farm.