New partnership with Rome Global Gateway and the Orto Botanico increases STEM internship opportunities

Author: Carli Williams

Anez 7Anez and Dr. Calò pick cacti flowers

This semester the Rome Global Gateway begins a new partnership with the Orto Botanico, a part of Università La Sapienza. The site, comprised of beautiful botanical gardens and greenhouses, is a center for research, conservation, and environmental education. Located near Trastevere, the Otro Botanico provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. With the organization’s research focusing on the conservation of rare and endangered plant species, it is a rich site for discovery.

Starting this month, Savannah Anez ‘21 joins the Orto Botanico to conduct research with local scientists, including her supervisor, Dr. Flavia Calò. Anez, a junior with a major in biochemistry and minors in theology and Italian, is taking part in the Rome International Scholars program. This specialized program allows students an immersive Roman experience, including courses at local universities, homestays with Roman families, and internships with area organizations.

Orto 6Anez examines seeds from a cactus flower

Though Anez didn’t think there would be internship opportunities available in her field, she enjoyed the idea of such an immersive program and decided to apply. “I loved the idea of Scholars, though, at the time, I didn’t think it was geared towards a student like me,” Anez reflects. That changed once Anez explained her interest in plant-based research to Director of Programming, Student Development & Community Engagement, Mallory Nardin. Following their meeting, Nardin reached out to the Orto Botanico and the result was a new, research-focused internship opportunity for students like Anez.

Over the next five months, Anez’s internship will focus on the germinability and vitality of different species of cacti, beginning with the measurement of seed production of each fruit. Anez hopes to gain research experience and insight into her career path, all while learning more about the plants she will work with at Orto Botanico. Her goals align well with those of the Orto Botanico, connecting research and public outreach. “Being able to see myself as part of the stewardship here is what I’m looking forward to as well,” Anez comments.

Learn more about internship opportunities available to our students.

Originally published by Carli Williams at on February 14, 2020.