Photo: Behind the face covering, a young scientist

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  • Emily Niedziela of Hadley works at Route 9 Farmstand in Hadley, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Photographer
Published: 9/3/2020 3:29:19 PM

On Wednesday, I stopped by Route 9 Farmstand in Hadley to find out who is selling those ears of corn. The person behind the face covering, so to speak. I found Emily Niedziela of Hadley working a 1-5 shift in a tent devoid of customers.

“It’s always slow on rainy days,” she said, adding that she’d only had about a baker’s dozen stop by in the past two hours.

She has worked at the stand for the past few years after an endorsement by her sister, Elizabeth, who was already working there. It has been a summer job for her since she is earning a master’s degree at Northeastern University in biotechnology with a concentration on regulatory affairs.

“It’s a nice little job,” she said.

Niedziela grew up visiting her grandfather at his Countryside Vegetable Farm, a farm stand just down the road from her job.

“He had greenhouses, and that’s where my sister and I liked to play,” she said, but added that before long “we’d cause some trouble and get shipped to grandma in the house.”

Elizabeth and her fiancé are trying to get the farm stand, now closed, operating again. She asked Emily to help sell pumpkins there this fall.

“It’s family, so I’m glad to help them out,” Emily said. “For me, farming is a fun hobby, but not something I would want to do for the rest of my life.”

Science was a clear choice for Emily.

“I was exposed to science at a young age, and I just love it,” she said. “I love the research and the experimenting. It seemed like something I could make a career out of and would enjoy doing for a while.”

Her mother, Catherine, was a chemistry teacher for 30 years at Hopkins Academy where Emily attended high school. Emily has a cousin who is a nuclear physicist.

Due to the pandemic, she has opted for remote learning to pursue her goals in biotechnology at Northeastern while living at home in Hadley. But she will also find time to work with her sister selling pumpkins at her grandfather’s farm and working at Route 9 Farmstand until it ends the season in October.

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