Blum Summer Field Internship | 2015

In the second year of the BLUM Field Internship Program (2015) fourteen students from seven UCSD programs (Global TIES, an engineering major; the Global Health major; the Human Rights minor; Arts and Technology, The Sixth College practicum; the Public Service minor, based in Thurgood Marshall College; Partners at Learning, an Educational Studies major; the Urban Studies and Planning major) participated in a two months paid internship spanning two watersheds in the San Diego-Tijuana bi-national region. The interns worked with one of two cohorts, each based at one of two distinct Community Stations: the Blum Cross-Border Community Station, in the Tijuana River Watershed, and the Earthlab Community Station, in the Chollas Creek Watershed. The cohort based at the Cross-Border Community station rotated between the two organizations that comprise the CS: Casa Familiar, in the community of San Ysidro; and Alter Terra in Terrazas de San Bernardo (located in the sub-watershed of Los Laureles in Tijuana, Baja California). The intern cohort based at the Earthlab collaborated with Groundwork San Diego to develop projects exploring the ecology of Chollas Creek Watershed, with specific focus on the Diamond District neighborhood of Southeast San Diego.


  • Assessment of programs and unfulfilled needs at NGO partner sites;
  • Stress on ecology, development, and access as overarching themes for organizing connections between field sites and between ideas and practical application;
  • Establishment of sophisticated technological communication between Studio at UCSD, Earthlab in the Diamond District, Casa Familiar in San Ysidro, and Alter Terra Community Center in Los Laureles Canyon;
  • Establishing basic Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills for organizing and analyzing diverse kinds of data on a common spatial platform;
  • Benefitting the respective communities by sharing expertise and abilities learned in the University, and adapting and perfecting these techniques through rigorous application in the field;
  • Stress on active learning and collaborative projects as media for creating undergraduate engagement and enhancing the perceived applicability of skills learned.


    The internship was structured to meet three day per week, over a span of ten weeks. Each day started at 9 am, and lasted until 4 pm. The interns spent two days per week in the field, either in the Diamond District, in San Ysidro or in Los Laureles Canyon. One day per week was dedicated for meetings at UCSD, during which we discussed and analyzed the work done that week in the field.

    The first week was an introductory week. The interns of both cohorts were introduced to both their responsibilities and the pressing issues to be investigated. They were also exposed to the three field sites: the Diamond District in Southeast San Diego, through Groundwork San Diego; Los Laureles Canyon in Tijuana through Alter Terra; and San Ysidro in the Soothsay SRA through Casa Familiar.
    In the following weeks, the interns of the Earthlab CS delved into work at the four-acre site bounded on the North by the MLK Highway, Euclid Avenue to the East, Carolina Drive to the South, and the MTM Driveway to the West. At the Earthlab, interns interfaced with Groundwork SD’s DEEP (Diamond Educational Excellence Partnership) Literacy Program, also developing a range of individual project proposals, based on research of different urban agriculture projects in San Diego County. Interns of the Cross-Border cohort were based in the San Ysidro community for the first several weeks of the internship, centering work efforts around a lot, designated for eventual development as the “Senior Garden Project,” seeking to promote its temporary use as a site for educational programming and also as sede for a food distribution program in the community, which could be achieved following the acquisition of a Conditional Use Permit. In the following weeks, interns of the Cross-Border cohort shifted to the field site in Los Laureles Canyon, where they explored the geological history of the canyon to develop a series of proposals for projects and programming to potentially be enacted by the community partner, Alter Terra.



    BSFI | 2015