Fresh Faces at the Intern Table

Written by Plant With Purpose on January 20, 2015 in General


Over lunch last week we learned little known facts like the best gifts they’ve ever received and shared how our paths led to sitting around the table at Plant With Purpose. Our newest class of interns bring enthusiasm, excitement, and heart as they launch into their three-month experience. We’re grateful for their passion for justice and dedication to help others. Read on and get to know this cohort of interns and join us in welcoming them to the team!



Taylor Pizzuto – Grant Writing

A San Diego native to the bone, I packed up my belongings after high school graduation and moved down I-5 to Point Loma Nazarene University, where I am currently finishing my final semester as a Writing major. Along the well-traversed road from then to now I took a couple side-routes that helped mold me into who I am.

Among my more recent experiences, I spent the first three months of 2014 studying abroad in Costa Rica learning an incredible amount and meeting many fantastic people, followed by another three-month stint over the summer working with Appalachia Service Project based in Tennessee, where I will return for another summer of home repair and poverty ministry.

My free time goes to reading, improving my writing, exploring the outdoors, and planning future traveling adventures. With my passions for international development, sustainability, and writing, I’m honored to have the opportunity to work towards such a unique and meaningful mission as the grant writing intern with the Plant With Purpose team.


Sierra Robbins – Development Intern

Hello! My name is Sierra Robbins and I’m so excited to be the development intern this spring. I’m a graduating senior at UCSD majoring in International Studies – Political Science with a minor in Linguistics. I first heard about Plant With Purpose about a year ago while writing a policy report on reforestation in Northern Thailand and was reminded of this great organization while actually taking an environmental sustainability class in Chiang Mai, Thailand this fall.

As a full-time student and part-time English teacher at a school for blind children, my time spent in Thailand was pretty busy. That didn’t stop my classmates and I from hiking as often as we could to a mysterious-hidden-jungle-waterfall temple that was essentially in our backyard. Seeing such incredible forests and knowing the seemingly insurmountable threats that they face made pursuing an internship at Plant With Purpose an easy decision. The work that Plant With Purpose does to reverse environmental degradation, economic despair, and rural poverty is work that I aspire to continue in my post-graduate professional career. I couldn’t be starting in a better place. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of international development under the wings of such a dedicated team of people.

I love reading books about remarkable places, exploring our beautiful [and previously under-appreciated (by me)] State of California, learning new languages, and trying (but failing) to teach myself how to play the piano. As a recently retired swimmer, I am beginning to run very slowly and attempt physically impossible yoga moves. In my free time, you can find me shamelessly overusing parentheses, appreciating the world’s vast architectural masterpieces, being the number one fan of famous Internet cats, or tending to my giraffe and postcard collections.


Grace Fabry – Programs Intern

My name is Grace Fabry and I am honored to fill the position as a programs intern this spring. I graduated from Gordon College with a BA in Economics and a minor in Outdoor Education this past December. At this small Christian liberal-arts college nestled in the woods north of Boston, I not only received a well-rounded education but also played on the college field hockey team, learned how to shovel snow, and came to adore the four seasons. However, as a San Diego native I am glad to escape the piles of snow and sub-zero temperatures and to join the team at Plant With Purpose.

During my freshman year at Gordon, I was convinced I wanted to study Christian ministries. It was not until after I spent a summer in Swaziland that I began to evaluate how vast the world is and how I might fit into the redemption narrative. I returned to Gordon the following fall and switched my major to economics with a distinct interest in international development.

Although I first heard of Plant With Purpose in high school, I did not become acquainted with the organization until the end of my college career was rapidly approaching. As I researched several international development organizations, I found myself returning repeatedly to Plant With Purpose. I was fascinated by the holistic model, which incorporates health of the individual, community, earth, and spirit.

In my leisure time, I enjoy playing sports, spending time in nature, and being in the sun. As a result of my studies of outdoor education, I have grown to love mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking. And whenever possible I like to sleep under the stars in my hammock.


Rebekah Kurisu  – Programs Intern

My name is Rebekah Kurisu and I will be one of the Program Interns this semester. After spending a semester abroad in Florianópolis, Brazil, I have returned to Point Loma Nazarene University where I am a junior studying International Development.

I first became interested in development after going on a mission trip with PLNU to Downtown Eastside Vancouver, the largest community of homeless individuals in Canada. There I saw the complexities of helping people escape poverty and addiction while finding purpose, meaning, and value in their lives. I found that I wanted to further study how to best help those in poverty. Traveling to Bangladesh, Brazil, and Mexico has further ignited this compassion for people and desire to further learn about international development.

I have heard many great things about Plant With Purpose and the work they are doing around the world through environmental, spiritual, and economic transformation. I feel blessed to be a part of this organization and to learn from people who have been working in this field for years.

In my spare time you can find me reading with a cup of coffee in hand, planning my next travel adventure, listening to my newest music obsession, or lounging on the beach.

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