By Sarah Fiorello

Department: Cornell Botanic Gardens

Mentor/Supervisor: Kevin Moss (km274), Student and Public Engagement Coordinator

Time Commitment:

  • This position is part time during Spring of ’20, Fall of ’20, and Spring of ’21 and full time for Summer of ‘20
  • 7-10 hours/week (may include occasional weekend work) during the school year
  • 39 hours/week (may include occasional weekend work) during the summer
  • Student must be in Ithaca for duration of position. Time off can be arranged with supervisor.

Salary: $12/hour

What is Learning by Leading (LxL)?

Learning by Leading, or LxL, is an internship model that centers on collaborative leadership, co-creation, experiential learning, and the importance of place. LxL is built on a small team-based structure, in which a staff mentor at the gardens is paired with 2 student co-coordinators. These 2 students learn from their mentor and do much of what their mentor does. After a semester of training and exposure to the mentor’s work, the 2 student co-coordinators will recruit, hire, manage, and lead a small team of peers who will, with the guidance and support of the staff mentor, carry out student led projects and initiatives that work toward achieving Botanic Gardens’ mission. Learning by Leading is an opportunity to experience independence, team work, and student leadership (similar to that of a student club), with the support of professional expertise, administrative connections, and funding of a well-established, major public facing institution such as Cornell Botanic Gardens.

Pilot Team

The LxL Garden Ambassadors, an outreach and events-oriented team, is Botanic Gardens pilot team - making the first pair of co-coordinators incredibly influential in shaping a new student-focused program. If chosen, you will have the opportunity to help co-create a major program that is a top priority of Botanic Gardens. Your perspective and experiences will be greatly valued, as we look to shape the Garden Ambassadors curriculum and schedule, general policies, practices, and training guidelines for LxL at Cornell as it grows and develops over the coming years.

What does a Garden Ambassador co-coordinator do?

The Garden Ambassadors co-coordinator will lead a team of students to engage with our visitors in a variety of ways including conducting surveys and interviews, have conversations with the Tompkins County Tourism Board, and participate in focus groups with local visitors and volunteer docents. The team will then recommend, develop, and implement visitor programs. These programs will be co-created by the team, Botanic Gardens staff, and other University and community stakeholders. Given that this is a pilot team, visitor engagement opportunities may include (but are not limited to): representing Cornell Botanic Gardens at Ithaca community events (Apple Harvest Festival, Ithacafest, etc.) and Cornell Campus events (ClubFest, Homecoming, Ag Day, etc.), developing and giving tours alongside our dedicated docents, creating interactive information stations, and planning and carrying out events for the Cornell and Ithaca community.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with the fellow student co-coordinator, staff mentor, and Director of Education to shape the pilot Learning by Leading Garden Ambassador Team.
  • Recruit, manage, coordinate, and motivate a team of 4-5 volunteer student Garden Ambassador interns.
  • Collaborate with a fellow student co-coordinator and staff mentor to design, implement, and lead the Garden Ambassador internship.
  • Plan, organize and implement educational and outreach programs and experiences for the general public and Cornell communities. This work may include timelines, grant proposals, documentation, and evaluation.


  • Currently enrolled Cornell University undergraduate student; all majors are invited to apply
  • Strong leadership and teamwork skills, ability to adapt in small, dynamic teams
  • Good communication, writing, organizational, and public speaking skills
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to manage conflict
  • Critical thinking, planning, and problem-solving skills
  • Experience with or interest in engaging with diverse audiences of youth, student, and adult learners
  • Experience with or interest in environmental communication and/or environmental teaching and engagement in an informal setting


  • Uphold and carry out Cornell Botanic Gardens’ vision, mission, and values
  • Exhibit strong professional ethics and accountability
  • Lead by example, empower others, and foster teamwork
  • Represent Cornell Botanic Gardens with professionalism and integrity

Goal: To provide hands-on experience as well as personal and professional support to prepare students to be environmental leaders in the modern workforce. We welcome students as professional team members and part of the Botanic Gardens family.

To Apply: Fill out the application HERE. For further information and questions, contact Kevin Moss (km274). Application deadline is February 14, 2020.

Download printable job description.