"It is challenging to work for a successful nonprofit organization," explained Jessica Ruzic, '10, leadership studies and international studies double major and Chinese minor. "It's even more difficult to work for a nonprofit that is trying to work its way back up and become once again productive."

This summer, Ruzic faced this challenge every day as an intern at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, or NOFA-NJ.

NOFA-NJ is a small nonprofit organization located in Hillsborough, N.J., that focuses on matters of sustainability within agriculture, including land conservation and the local organic food system. One of its newer initiatives is a collaboration with local New Jersey restaurants to ensure that locally-sourced foods are readily available.

Additionally, NOFA-NJ is partnering with Duke Farms to create several programs, including the Center for Working lands, which will consist of a farmers market, a large community garden and educational programs.

Ruzic worked a full-time schedule as the organization's head intern, beginning with a 45-minute commute from her hometown of Newtown, Pa. Her duties included managing the office's two communications databases, planning community outreach programs and attending weekly meetings with members of the board.

She also planned a gala to be held in October, which will encompass fundraising, education and celebration of sustainable food production. The event will highlight a number of organic restaurants in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York areas. A keynote speaker will discuss various aspects of organic sustainability and what the future holds for this industry.

The leadership Ruzic demonstrated at NOFA-NJ echoes that of her academic career. At the University of Richmond, she served as the president of the Westhampton College class of 2010 both her freshman and sophomore years, and is currently a student admissions representative and a member of the Jepson Student Government Association academic affairs committee.

Ruzic studied in La Rochelle, France, during the summer after her first year at Richmond, when she thought she would pursue a French minor. Ruzic also spent six consecutive months in China, arriving in June 2008 to attend summer courses in Beijing and, after several weeks of pursuing her own travel agenda, remained in Shanghai for the fall semester.

"In Jepson, you live what you learn and I was attracted to the concept of 'doing' and being an active participant in my learning," said Ruzic, when asked about her decision to pursue a leadership studies major. "It's based on both challenging and solidifying how one thinks and internalizes different concepts."

She hopes to one day apply her Jepson education working for an international nonprofit organization that funds and develops infrastructure in developing nations all over the world.