Say Hello to Our Fall Interns

Written by Plant With Purpose on September 11, 2014 in General

Meet Plant With Purpose’s newest cohort of interns! They’re an all-star team with talent and passion to spare, and are dedicated to justice and the pursuit of God’s Kingdom. We couldn’t be more excited to share this fall semester with them. Read on to learn more about these team members.

Melissa Coy – Grant Writing

IMELISSA‘m a recent graduate from the University of California Davis with a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Relations and Economics. As a San Diego native and a member of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, I learned about the vision of Plant With Purpose years ago. In 2008 I traveled with Plant With Purpose to Oaxaca, Mexico and visited several partnering villages. In 2010 I traveled with Plant With Purpose to Tanzania and successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Over the past four years, I have continually pursued my passion for international issues through my studies at UC Davis and internships with non-profit organizations. This past winter I interned in Washington, D.C. with the National Peace Corps Association advocating on Capitol Hill for relevant Peace Corps legislation. Outside of my passion for international issues I enjoy the beach, running, coffee, and puns.

I’m excited to be back in San Diego and to have the opportunity to intern with and contribute to the Plant With Purpose team.


Mallory Christensen – Marketing & Outreach

MALLORYI’m currently the youngest intern in the office but I’m trying not to be intimidated by the fact that I’m still a junior at the University of New Mexico studying Spanish and Communication, with a concentration in Intercultural Communication. I was introduced to Plant with Purpose during my senior year of high school when I had the opportunity to go on a Vision Trip to the Dominican Republic. God has been breaking my heart ever since for people living in poverty, specifically in Central and South America. Empowering communities and finding sustainable solutions was something I could understand and become more passionate about, and I hoped I could work more with Plant with Purpose in the future, in whatever capacity that looked like.

Fast forward three years and I am the Marketing and Outreach Intern for the fall semester, while taking online classes to finish my studies. I am expectant to see what God is going to teach me about the issues He has placed on my heart. My passion for Central and South America is something I hope to turn into a career after graduation, working with and for nonprofit organizations. Plant with Purpose gives me the opportunity to learn more about this and I am excited to work for a Christian nonprofit that ultimately glorifies our Creator.

Being a student has its perks and allows me to take advantage of opportunities like traveling to new places. I love to travel, and this is my second “study abroad” experience (the first was a summer in Spain). Home is Denver, CO where my family lives, or Albuquerque, NM where I attend school. Wherever I go, you’ll find me reading, trying to do yoga, drinking coffee, and playing with puppies.


Erin Smith – Programs Monitoring & Evaluation

ERINHi! I’m called Erin and am so grateful for the opportunity to work as a Monitoring + Evaluation intern at Plant With Purpose this semester! A bit of backstory: Last spring Point Loma Nazarene University granted me a B.S. in Environmental Science, mailed me a diploma, and bade me farewell after four years spent enjoying the rugged cliffs, beautiful trees, and off-limits rooftops of campus (highly recommend enjoying a sunrise from atop Brown Chapel).

During undergrad, several ecology, plant, and sustainable development courses (as well as participation in a semester-long field program in rural Costa Rican farmland) fueled my current interest in food security, community development, and agriculture. I’d like to conduct graduate research in ecology after working with environmentally-minded organizations over the next few years, gaining familiarity with what kind of topics and challenges occur most frequently, as well as methods for facilitating, monitoring, and promoting environmental restoration. So here I am!

That aside, I love making art (medium of choice: colored pencils!), keeping active (biking, biking, biking), reading (especially the classics), sky-gazing (have you noticed how huge the sky is??), and I’m always up for a game of Bananagrams.


Nicole Stinchcomb – Programs Monitoring & Evaluation

NIKKIMy name is Nicole Stinchcomb and I am a recent graduate of Biola University with a major in Environmental Science and minor in both Biology and Biblical Studies. I love reading novels preferring adventure and fantasy, with a bit of historical fiction mixed in. I love musicals and you may catch me singing some in my free time.

I learned about Plant With Purpose about 10 years ago, when it was still called Floresta. The mission of Plant with Purpose to alleviate poverty through environmental restoration resonated with me and has shaped my goals in education as well as given me a career goal to work in environmental missions.

Now that I have graduated, my next step is joining the Peace Corps in Ethiopia this January, following the end of my internship. I’m very excited because I will be working in Forestry, which will consist of tree nursery and agroforestry work in rural villages. I feel that this internship in addition to the work in Peace Corps will give me a thorough image of the challenges and rewards this type of international non-profit work holds.


Jimmie Presley – Video Production

JIMMIEI’m delighted to be the video production intern and have the opportunity to be a part of the Plant With Purpose team.

My interest in videography developed as I gained experience in journalism primarily focused on photojournalism and writing. I began my education at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and continued to pursue the field by earning a Master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, MO.

While pursuing photojournalism I interned at several newspapers. At the Naples Daily News in Florida I realized the power of videography after spending three months documenting a story of an illiterate, unemployed, and single father raising his two sons with cerebral palsy in the affluent Naples community.

In 2007 I had the opportunity to attain international experience and began working as a writer, photographer and videographer for a Christian emergency relief agency in South Sudan. I remained in South Sudan for the next six years in the communications field and in the monitoring and evaluation sector focused on humanitarian projects.

This fall I hope to assist Plant With Purpose in communicating through videography the impact of the organization’s ongoing projects and the continued need for prayers and support to uplift struggling communities around the world.


Kjersten Swenson – Technical Monitoring & Evaluation

photo 3Hey there! My name is Kjersten Swenson and I’m super excited to be the Technical Monitoring & Evaluation intern for Plant With Purpose this fall!

As a recent graduate from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology, I’m thrilled to be working with an organization that strives for sustainability and implements the environmentally sound solutions that I’ve been learning about in classes the past few years. As an intern with Plant With Purpose, I hope to hone my professional skills as well as learn about the non-profit world from people passionate about bring lasting transformation.

Though I have called South Dakota home my whole life, I feel as if I have another home in East Africa. Two years ago, I spent a semester in Tanzania and Kenya studying wildlife management, as I planned to work with animals since I was young. Yet, by the end of a semester full of home stays, camping next to hyenas and lions in the Serengeti, and perfecting market bartering skills, I realized I no longer had an interest in working with animals, but instead wanted to work with people, agriculture, and return to East Africa. I got my wish to return to East Africa this past January when I had the opportunity to travel to a primary school in Kenya. There I spent time playing soccer, teaching English grammar lessons, and learning Swahili from enthusiastic children. I hope to again return to East Africa, but perhaps the next time it will be in a professional capacity and I will be fluent in Swahili.

In my spare time, I like to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, write, and spend as much time as I can outside by running, biking, and exploring. Several problems I deal with on a daily basis are reading too many books at the same time and my unwillingness to part with any member of my burgeoning rock collection. A hidden talent I hope to some day work into a meaningful career is my ability to milk a camel. However, if a camel dairy isn’t in my future, I hope to earn a Master’s degree in International Development and find ways to heal environmental degradation while working alongside God and his people.



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