A Student wearing a Regis shirt poses with high school students on a farm
Conover with students from the Employability Program at Long Hill Orchard and Farm

For the past seven years, Madeline Conover ‘24, an exercise science major at Regis College, has worked at Long Hill Orchard and Farm in her hometown, West Newbury, Mass. During her time there, Conover has helped the farm’s owners Cindy and John Adams with field work, seeding, planting, harvesting, working at farmers markets, and much more. This summer, she was offered the opportunity to start a collaborative program at Long Hill with Employability Program students from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School located in Haverhill, Mass.

The Employability Program was established to help prepare neurodiverse students for a co-op experience during and after high school. For the month of July, Conover worked with special education teachers Kristin Bucco and Melissa Cook to educate the students about agriculture, while they participated in farm work, including tasks such as planting, weeding, watering plants, working the farmstand store, and taking care of animals.

Students working on the farm“The program exposes students to real life work opportunities at local businesses. They gain the confidence, employability skills, and grit required to apply for and maintain their ability to work. By the end of the program, the students went right to work as soon as they got on the farm and some of them even applied for the job. It truly showed how hard working and driven they all were, and I am so proud of them,” said Conover.

At Regis, Conover is one of three captains of the women’s lacrosse team, the social media representative for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, a tour guide, an orientation leader, and senior class president of the Student Government Association. In the fall, she will be interning at Inclusive Fitness in West Roxbury, a fitness gym that creates healthy lifestyles for the neurodiverse population and their supporters.

Two people working on a farm

“Balancing everything is not always easy, but at Regis there are many people and resources such as academic coaches, tutors, professors, and even my peers who have helped me build my time management skills,” she said. “The Center for Internships and Career Development has also helped me with interview tips and resume building, and my professors have been a great support system in helping me find my way.”

After graduating this coming spring, Conover plans to attend graduate school for Occupational Therapy (OT).

“Occupational therapy is about building or maintaining lifestyles specific to individuals who may struggle physically, mentally, or in their environmental setting. I want to give back and help others confidently live healthy and independent lifestyles,” said Conover.