Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom – Jena Ernsting

Agriculture and children, a combination I never imagined myself being so invested in. Since starting work at the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) in September 2014, I have grown even more invested in implementing agriculture in the classroom. I was notified of this job position through K-State Career and Employment Services.

KFAC is a non-profit with a mission of “Connecting classrooms to Kansas agriculture.” KFAC provides materials and lesson plans to Kansas teachers, as well as providing educational institutes and credit opportunities for Kansas teachers.

My official job title is correspondence and database manager; however, as I grew to know my position my responsibilities and duties grew with me. What started as imputing donations into the donor database developed into helping create and develop donation campaigns.

From there I was recruited to develop and design brochures, graphics, posters and additional materials. My writing skills were put to use with writing some news releases and a feature article on a Kansas teacher who was using agriculture in their classroom.

I was also recruited to be the face of KFAC during an AGam in Kansas segment focusing on a Kansas teacher that was integrating agriculture in her classroom exceptionally.

Throughout my year and a half at KFAC I realized that accidents happen and mistakes are made. The most important part of any written piece is to check it over and then check it over again. I have also learned that it’s okay to not know how to do something and the time taken to learn something new is valuable in itself.

I have been lucky enough to see where KFAC has been and where it is going. This job has helped me grow into a more professional and allowed me to see how a non-profit works.

Each year KFAC hosts a bookmark art competition for kindergarten to sixth grade students. I love seeing the creativity of the students and gaining an understanding of how young people see agriculture in their everyday lives. This position also allows me to work from my personal computer on design projects, which provides me the opportunity to help create my own schedule.

On the opposite side of things, I have found that although I have found a niche for writing letters asking people for money, that side of a non-profit is not necessarily my favorite.

I believe this internship has provided me a variety of experiences that are applicable in whatever area of communications I end up in. Understanding how to communicate and help distribute information to stakeholders will be valuable wherever I end up.


Feed The Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics – Malerie Strahm

Have you ever heard of an on-campus job turned internship? When I took a part-time job with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics in January 2015, I never would have believed how far it would bring me. What started out as doing odd communications jobs here and there for the lab turned into bigger jobs and some of the best experiences I’ve had so far!

The Innovation Lab for Applied Wheat Genomics is one of four Feed the Future labs housed here at K-State. I was hired to bring a communications aspect to the group and develop social media like some of the other labs had done already. Then, when I talked to my supervisor and academic advisor about doing a full-time internship over the summer, they said ‘Why not?’

Unique is one way to describe my experience. Unlike most internships, it felt more like an entry-level job rather than an internship, as I didn’t have much professional guidance at first. I feel like that really gave me an opportunity to grow by making me reach out beyond the office and figure things out for myself. It was also unique because I was able to work part-time for the new Wheat Genetics Resource Center Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (WGRCI/UCRC). Both Organizations share information and overlap with much of their research.

My main responsibilities for the Innovation Lab included writing press releases, developing print materials and posters, filming a short overview video, maintaining the two lab websites, and developing social media (Facebook and Twitter). For the WGRCI/UCRC I developed and implemented a new logo and color scheme for the organization and designed a poster and flyer to use at events. I also developed a new website using the K-State web server that was easier on the eyes and to navigate.

Seeing the work I’ve done go to places like Washington, DC and receiving emails that my work has been in the hands of people like senator Jerry Moran has definitely been a rewarding and a favorite part of my internship.  Although not having a supervisor well versed in the world of communications was at times a challenge, I know that the experience I gained was valuable.

Much of my work in this internship was design-based because I was given jobs according to my skills and I was able to grow those skills. My future plans include a possible job opportunity connected to this internship that would give me even more experience in graphic design.

As you can see, this internship was a special case but the lab is hiring a new intern for the summer and would like that intern to continue in the fall. I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in general communications because you will do a little bit of everything! You can also tailor it to meet your skill set and interest. To apply, email our program coordinator Haley Ahlers at halhlers@ksu.edu.

Kansas Wheat – Audrey Schmitz

Once a Wheatie, always a Wheatie! Who wouldn’t love to work in an office that smelled like fresh baked bread every day or a snack cubicle that is always stocked with donuts?

My summer internship at Kansas Wheat was definitely one for the books. I never imagined I would learn as much as I did or gain the experiences or mentors I had. The office environment at Kansas Wheat was so welcoming and entertaining with a fun side of pranks and inside jokes.

As the communications intern for Kansas Wheat I spent the past 11 months managing and designing the Rediscover Wheat monthly magazine. My duties included writing feature stories about wheat producers and bakers, press releases about events and new hires, and reports on policy, wheat diseases and harvest.

I assisted with e-newsletters using ConstantContact, uploading news content to the Kansas Wheat and National Festival of Breads websites and recording radio spots. I collaborated with co-workers in planning the 2015 National Festival of Breads and the Kansas Wheat Alliance summer meeting and created promotional banners, signs, and programs for the events.

The biggest skill I learned as their intern was how to navigate InDesign and Illustrator by using the programs daily. Equally, I learned more about writing feature stories and personality profiles. Email marketing, Adobe audio and iMovie were also a few new skills I tried out.

Through my many activities at Kansas Wheat I have grown as a writer, designer and overall communicator. I believe that my experience in this internship will allow me to bring many valuable skills to future assignments, internships and jobs. I am eager to continue using my abilities to contribute communications team.

My biggest area of growth that I realized about myself was my ability to work independently with minimal supervision. I also recognized my ability to communicate effectively with my employer by listening and relaying accurate information in my work and what they envisioned.

The reason why my mentors were so great at Kansas Wheat was because they would ask me if there was anything I felt I hadn’t learned or done yet that they could teach me. I truly felt like I could ask them anything no matter how small the question or if I didn’t know how to do something.

I heard about this internship via an email that my advisor Dr. Ellis sent out over the listserve. I knew Nicole Lane had interned there previously and I really looked up too her as a role model because she had a wealth of knowledge and organization. I figured she had gained those skills from her Kansas Wheat internship.

I worked from right after spring break till the end of February the following year. Because I loved my internship so much after working there over the summer I decided to stay and continue working there throughout the semester part time. Because I was learning so many applicable communications skills while working there and I missed the people I was working with I stayed.

I would recommend this internship to anyone. There are so many skills to learn here and great people to work with. I would especially recommend it to those who want to write about crops and wheat or are also minoring in Agronomy. To apply the application comes out during the spring semesters before spring break. If you have questions about the internship contact Marsha Boswell at mboswell@kswheat.com.

IGP Institute – Kylie Blythe

This summer I interned at IGP Institute as the distance education intern. I was located in Manhattan, Kansas so I was able to stay in Manhattan for the summer. I started this internship in May and ended it in August.

My roommate, Kelly Hannigan, had also interned at IGP Institute the previous summer and told me that they had an opening for this summer. I was able to contact my boss through email and had an interview the next day. The application process was pretty easy.

I was very excited to learn that I was going to have this internship for the summer. I worked for Brandi Miller, the distance education coordinator at IGP. My duties included organizing courses in Canvas online, organizing courses in K-State Pro, editing lecture videos using Camtasia and occasionally writing press releases.

One of the bigger projects that I got to work on throughout the summer was creating demonstration videos for a cereal science course. I got to work with Debi Rogers at AIB to renovate the grain science course that she taught. I worked with Debi to organize the order of the demonstration videos and plan the times to film, and then I was able to operate the video camera and record Debi while she narrated the demonstrations. After they were all filmed I used Final Cut Pro to edit the audio and lighting of the videos as well as adding in titles. There were a total of 24 videos.

Another big project I did was to take all the distance education course content and switch it from K-State Pro learning management system to Canvas learning management system. There were a total of 26 courses that I downloaded all the content for and reorganized into Canvas. I also had to create quizzes and message boards in Canvas so I got very familiar with how this learning management system works. I also used Mediasite to upload lecture videos for the courses.

IGP Institute was also invited by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service to conduct a grain and oilseed industry overview seminar. I was able to travel to Washington, D.C. with Jay O’Neil and assisted him with his presentation preparation and took photographs of the seminar. I was also able to meet with several different companies while I was there. I got to sit down and chat with their communications department and learn about their roles as communicators in the agriculture industry. It was a great insight into the communications side of agriculture, and a great networking opportunity for me. I was also in charge of writing the press release that covered the seminar in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the rest of the summer I was given a few miscellaneous projects that helped me build my experience. I got to work a little with InDesign and Photoshop as well.

This internship gave me several projects that I was able to add to my portfolio, as well as skills that I was able to add to my resume. I would recommend this internship to anyone looking to improve their communication skills and networking opportunities.

K-State Radio Network, Agriculture Today – Charlsie Craig

This past summer I served as the broadcast intern with Agriculture Today over the K-State Radio Network. This station is based out of Manhattan, Kan.

Agriculture Today is a broadcast show aired every week day at 10 a.m. The show is aired on KFRM 550 and live streamed on K-State Research and Extension wed page. The show, can reach not only to Kansas but surrounding states and with the live stream all across the United States. I work under the main broadcaster, Eric Atkinson.

The main purpose of this broadcast show is to keep producers, farmers, or advocates of agriculture in the know of what research and big things are happening in the world of agriculture. The show covers subjects that are spread all of agriculture from crops to Ag in the Classroom.

For the first couple of weeks it was a quick learning experiences of just learning how to edit material on Adobe Audition and learning how to set up the program to be aired. Although I was just getting my feet wet, within those first few weeks Atkinson ask me to contact someone for my first interview.

I thought that I wasn’t ready for my first experience, but Atkinson thought I was, and of course he was right. Currently I’m now up to doing five to six interviews a week but every time I still get the butterflies.

As the summer went on I had my first traveling experience at 2015 Kansas State FFA Conference. This experience brought a lot of first such as, using a hand held microphone and recorder. Also, I had the pleasure of being back stage during the last session when they announced the new state officers. My purpose of this event was to interview the winners of Kansas Star in Agribusiness and Farmer, and the new state officers. This was a very intense upbeat environment that I wasn’t use to. It ended up being a great experience and it made me realize how much I love broadcasting.

While realizing I liked that experience, at the station, my duties were routine. But I mean routine in the sense of having to conduct interviews. Every interview is different and the interviewee is always different. This internship has taught me many things and one of which is don’t be shy. When I listen to my interview at the beginning of summer compared to the end you can hear how by the end of the summer my interviews started to feel more relaxed and conversational. Every week I have to produce two network pieces that will be placed on the website for stations to use throughout the week. This piece can only be three minutes. Although it sounds easy sometimes it can be and sometimes you get 15 minute interviews that holds a lot of information. This experience taught me to utilize my time correctly.

Throughout the summer I learned many things but the two most important ones were deadlines and time management. In this communications industry time is based on time, wither that being interviews or producing a piece so it’s ready for the next show. Nothing has been more rewarding then having people call me telling me they heard me on the radio and ask me more questions about the interview. It gave me a humbling feeling of significance.

Atkinson has been a great mentor. I have learned so much from him and the staff at Agriculture Today. Atkinson brings a sense of importance and achievement on every broadcast show. Agriculture has a long road ahead of it and its people like him advocating it to help mend it together.

K-State Department of Plant Pathology – Lindsey Ashmore

Agriculture based communication was a great choice for me as an individual. I describe my career path as the endless possibilities career path. Generally students don’t go to college to graduate and still not know what they are going to do in life but, with the Agricultural Communications and Journalism degree in the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, you can do that with confidence!

For my summer internship, the responsibilities of my current job were increased and expanded. I am a student communications specialist under the supervision of James Stack PhD, at Kansas State University’s award winning Department of Plant Pathology.

The responsibilities are not concrete in this position, but they do accrue over time. Some examples are:

  • Social media management
  • Website building/management
  • Photography/Videography
  • International communication
  • Event planning
  • Journalism
  • Print creation
  • Lab work

When I started my internship this summer I had no idea what would further be instore for me. My very first day, I was thrown into a planning committee for a one-week international course to be held at the Biosecurity Research Institute Pat Roberts Hall at Kansas State University. The course would start in one week. It was my responsibility to catch up, and begin to contribute substantially. I was asked to create the attendee binders, be a chauffeur, tour guide, photographer, videographer, interviewer, communicator, hostess and more.

Post-global course, I was required to pool the material from the course and create a private website for attendees to visit and review. I was extremely proud to learn the cover of the attendee binder was showcased at a presentation given by the dean of the College of Agriculture.

Aside from the global course tasks, I was also required to keep up with the daily tasks. Before one of the lead researchers travelled to South America, I created social media business cards to help spread awareness about the wheat blast social media campaign. I then monitored the social media analytics compared to his location.

My supervisor and lab members travelled globally this summer leaving me with a good amount of alone time. It was spent planning and creating material for them to review and critique when they returned. I even created a surprise video for the lab group. Many of the videos I created were shown as the lab members travelled and even at the USDA headquarters!

This internship pushed me harder than any other communication position yet. I loved having the ability to step out of my communicator role at random times, and I loved being trusted to make things flow smooth. I was surrounded my amazing individuals with incredible passion for what they do. I learned about many cultures and how to interact with them. Most of all, I gained an experience worth looking back on and being proud!


AG am – Sam Capoun

Sam - AG am

Sam - AG am 2

Our Town, Our Food

Livestock Sale Barn

AG am in Kansas, produced by Farming Unlimited, Inc., is a daily broadcast television program focusing on all aspects of agriculture in the state of Kansas. Based out of Topeka, the company works with different organizations and individuals to showcase and promote agriculture.

This summer I had the opportunity to be an intern for AG am in Kansas. My job duties were to produce, host and edit television segments. I began my internship in late May and finished in early August.

During my first few days of the internship, I was asked to format a plan outlining what I wanted to accomplish this summer. Not everyone gets a chance to be on television, so I wanted to use this opportunity to inform viewers about agriculture. My goals consisted of debunking myths revolving around the agriculture industry. I also wanted to explain the importance of these agricultural processes that range from using fertilizers to using gestation crates.

I started a list of topics that I wanted to cover and individuals that I would interview. I then reached out to them to schedule a date and a location for the interview. The last step was to form questions that I would ask during the interview.

During the actual on camera interview, I not only had to conduct the interview but I also needed to make sure all of the settings were correct on the video camera in terms of lighting and audio. Often I was by myself as both the cameraman and interviewer. After conducting the interview, I needed to continue taping video footage for all of the B-Roll footage that I needed to complete the segment.

The final stage of production consisted of editing. AG am in Kansas uses the Final Cut Pro editing system. Of all the stages of production, editing is what I found the most challenging to learn. My duties were to take all of my video clips and make them into one flawless video segment.

This internship fit my goals in agriculture communication extremely well. Growing up on a cattle operation, I’m very passionate about the agriculture industry. However, in today’s society it is becoming more and more evident that people are having a harder time connecting indirectly with what feeds and clothes their world. This internship gave me an opportunity to explain different livestock and farming practicing to our television viewers.

My experience as an intern for AG am in Kansas helped me to develop professionally. The skills and lessons I learned will continue to be with me in every aspect of my life. I gained communication, technology, people, and video production skills. Each day I could say a learned something new. From this experience, I am confident that after graduation I will incorporate communications into my future career.

I would highly recommend this internship to anyone who loves interacting with people, being in front of a camera and above all loves agriculture. Your skills will be put to the test everyday but the opportunities are endless! To apply for an internship for AG am in Kansas contact Heather Newell at heather@trinitymarketinggroup.net.