Ranch House Designs, Inc. – Melissa Grimmel

What do you do when you’re offered an internship with the company you’ve always dreamed of working for? You kindly accept, click “end” on the Skype call, and jump on your feet to clap and scream with excitement.

I found out about the Ranch House Designs, Inc. Summer Internship from their website at http://www.ranchhousedesigns.com. They also offer fall and spring internships, which consist of social media work, writing and helping with various tasks in the office.

After applying in December 2014, the CEO of RHD, Rachel Cutrer, contacted me to set up a Skype interview. She had noticed my freelance graphic design work through my Facebook, and instead created and offered me another internship to help with graphic design projects. This is a perfect example of the importance of being open minded during interviews – something even better can come out of them! From December to June, I completed my duties as a Design Associate from Kansas.

Once summer break began, I traveled to the RHD office located in Wharton, Texas, which is an hour southwest of Houston…depending on traffic. RHD is a full service marketing and communications agency that serves thousands of clients. Their roots were founded in the agricultural and livestock sector, and they have established a reputation as the leading livestock communications firm worldwide. Today, the agency represents clients from all sectors and industries.

To complete my tasks, I used the Adobe Creative Suite to design promotional materials including logos, print advertisements, business cards, and more for clients primarily in the livestock and agricultural industries. During weeks with heavy workflow, I also worked with clients in other industries.

Being a graphic designer, you learn to read and accept harsh feedback from clients. You get clients that love the logo just as much as you do, are extremely detailed in their feedback and are exceptionally nice. On the downside, you also get the clients that hate the logo you send, are extremely rude in their feedback and do not want to give you a second chance. I have grown thick skin through this internship. Harsh feedback does not hurt my feelings, but it motivates me to create something amazing in the next proof.

RHD has two full-time graphic designers in the office. Being able to work next to them, ask questions, and receive tips and tricks from them improved my work tremendously. They are some of the top designers in the industry, so it was truly an honor to work beside them and receive helpful advice.

RHD was an amazing place to work, with even more amazing coworkers. I did not witness any competition – every coworker is there to encourage and inspire each other. I would recommend this internship to someone who has an interest in graphic design, social media, and the livestock and agricultural industries.

At first, I was nervous to move to South Texas to say the least. At 8 a.m., I would open the front door and my glasses would instantly fog up from the sticky humidity, I had snakes and lizards as pets in my backyard, and I was 23 hours from home where I spent every summer in the past. Instead of dwelling on being far away, I took advantage of this and did a lot of traveling on the weekends. I traveled to Corpus Christi Beach, San Antonio to see the Alamo and River Walk, Houston to eat amazing Mexican food, went shopping at boutiques I usually shop at via online, and even toured V8 Ranch. I loved learning about Texas and visiting places I’ve never been to before.

It is critical to take advantage of the area you live in and to make the best of it. You may miss out on things you do every other summer, but the adventure is well worth it. Go outside of your comfort zone. Brush away the nerves, take a deep breath and just do it! “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Kansas Department of Agriculture – Dandi Thomas

This summer I interned at the Kansas Department of Agriculture as a Communications Intern. I was located in Manhattan, Kansas in the Manhattan office, which allowed me to stay in Manhattan for the summer. I started my internship at the beginning of May and am still holding the position.

I learned about this internship through the agricultural communications and journalism listserv and applied through the Governor’s Internship Program at the beginning of May. I applied for the summer internship, but they also have fall and spring internships as well.

Through college I had the opportunity to have several jobs, each one more pertinent to my major than the next. When I applied for this internship, I felt like it could suit me extremely well and get me moving in the direction I wanted to with my career and resume, more so than the campus jobs I had had in the past.

My internship was directly under Megan Macy, the Director of PR for the agency. My duties included graphic design, website design, social media management and content creation, as well as other communication duties.

In the beginning, I was assigned various projects for other departments at KDA and was told to work with their department heads. This proved to be very challenging for me. Though updating the documents and creating their web pages was fairly easy, teaching and helping the other departments about what communications does was very difficult. I found myself having to explain things many times and had to redo several pages because the communication between the department and myself was clouded and unclear. This first few weeks of my internship taught me a very useful lesson about working with people outside of communications, and how to help them create their vision even if they don’t know how to communicate what they want at first. This lesson will forever stay in my mind, helping me be more dynamic in the workplace.

Through the rest of my internship, I was given a few projects but was given the reins to make those projects what I wanted them to be. My passion is graphic design, so most of my projects were focused around becoming a better designer and creating pieces that can be transformed into other multi-media designs.

Another great experience I was able to have with KDA was the gathering of marketing materials for other departments. I was able to set up appointments with animal breeders and shelters across the state, and travel with Megan to take photographs of animals and facilities. This was a good experience to help me strengthen my photography skills and work with others while shooting photos.

To this date, I have created and worked on over 50 projects for the Kansas Department of Agriculture and have enjoyed the experience thoroughly. The networking connections and experiences that I have been able to have through this internship will be exponentially important to my career.

I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in creating great portfolio pieces and gain experience in social media, designing, and marketing.

DuPont Pioneer- Marie Annexstad

This summer I worked for DuPont Pioneer as a Marketing Communications intern. My position was located in the Northern Business Unit office which is in Mankato, Minnesota and allowed me to live in my home state for the summer. I started in the middle of May and completed my internship at the end of August.

I found out about this job position through the Kansas State University Career Fair.

An internship’s outcome depends on what you make of the opportunities you have been presented with. When I began this position I had a set of tasks which I had to complete. While I was setting my goals along with my supervisor I asked if she would consider allowing me to take on a standing initiative in the business unit and create a marketing plan for it. She agreed and handed me the reins of the launch of GrowingPoint agronomy in the business unit.

Pioneer’s presence at trade shows provided opportunities to promote GrowingPoint using the already established channels. We ran a strong social media push beginning with our first trade show during the first week in August continuing through our last trade show that ended in the middle of September. Other methods of promotion included print, digital, and radio media. Creating this marketing plan was the favorite part of my internship.

In the beginning, I was immediately put to work on the design and launch of a brand new initiative. This initiative was the creation of digital sell sheets, for our business unit. I found this assignment to be the most difficult part of my internship as a lot of data had to be organized in Excel. I did, however, become proficient in using Excel more efficiently. Sell sheets have links to Pioneer.com product profile pages that display large amounts of agronomic information which assists sales representatives and growers to make informed decisions on the right products for their operations.

Next, it was my responsibility to choose an app which would be the best format to display the sell sheets in.  Through much research I found the app Adobe Reader to be the most useful. I developed and presented a tutorial that would help guide sales representatives step-by-step through the process of how to use sell sheets effectively with customers throughout the business unit.

In addition, I was fortunate to have been given the job of organizing and planning trade shows. During the summer the Northern Business Unit attends four major summer trade shows: Minnesota Farm Fest, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, Dakota Fest, and Big Iron. Planning of each show included opportunities to lead conference calls with different committees to make sure logistics were in order including graphics, giveaways, landscaping, promotional material, and workers.  Each show hosted a different array of people, and required different tactics to market Pioneer® products. I traveled to and attended all of the trade shows and coordinated Pioneer’s presence at each show on-site.

I enjoyed being given the responsibility to design various graphics to market Pioneer’s new initiatives Pioneer GrowingPoint Agronomy and Encirca Services.

I also assisted with creating materials to help sales representatives with their responsibilities. These included corn and soy print sell sheets, forage print sell sheets, and handouts on various topics. Encirca Services was a new initiative for Pioneer this year, so I created a tutorial for sales representatives to aid them in understanding of the process of how to make an Encirca Note.

My experience with Pioneer as an intern this summer helped me to develop professionally. I was expected to work independently.  As a result I learned to prioritize as I juggled many responsibilities. I learned to communicate efficiently and effectively with my superiors. The work environment was intense and professional. I learned to conduct myself in a similar manner. Overall, this was the best internship experience I have had thus far. I am confident that the after I graduate from college I will be pursuing a career in marketing and communications in a work environment similar to Pioneer.

I recommend this internship to anyone who loves design, event planning, and marketing. It was a great place for me to grow and develop professionally. To apply, visit the DuPont Pioneer Career Development Center.

American Paint Horse Association Internship- Nicole Woods

This summer I interned for the American Paint Horse Association as a Graphic Artist. My internship began in May and ended in August. The final week when applications were being accepted, my laptop crashed and I didn’t have all of the materials that APHA was requesting, however, I still applied.  I was first contacted by Art Vasquez, the Creative Director, and was asked if I’d like to intern with APHA. I accepted the invitation and two weeks later I was off to Fort Worth, TX.

            My first few weeks at APHA were kind of stressful but after I got acclimated from being completely on my own I really started to like my job. I loved that I had creative freedom and was given a clean slate each time I was handed a story that needed to be designed. The process for getting to design was, I would have to check a tray each day and then I would have to go where files were located. Within the file would be all of the necessary pictures and the story for me to import on to the pages. I used InDesign and Photoshop the most, however I was also taught how to do a little bit of web design for their new website.

Most of the designs I did for APHA were for three publications, their racing journal, the Paint Horse Connection and the Paint Horse Journal. These magazines reach about 60-70 thousand people worldwide. This was a great opportunity for me to get work published and seen around the world. Some of my other duties were to assist with internal projects that needed completed. A few designs I made were for the Youth World Show and even some for the Open Amateur World Show. I made flyers, banners and large checks that were given to winners in particular classes at the Youth World Show. I was also in charge of building client ads that went in all three publications.  Some of my favorite projects were building fresh client ads and also making four page spreads. Another thing I liked is I got to work in color, versus like in the newspaper industry everything is mostly in black and white.

While I was at APHA I was also involved with the re-constructing of the company. I was involved with giving my outside opinion about the company and also any changes that I would make if I were in the company. By going to meetings I got to see how different areas of the company worked together to make the company function and complete internal tasks.

What I learned most was how to be a team player. I also feel very blessed because I got to experience something that I have dreamed of since I was a child. Being involved in this company showed me what it would be like to work a full-time job and try and do things outside of work. I also learned that it is important to meet someone more than one time before you start to live with them, even if they are family. I am also glad that I was able to confirm that I have chosen the right career path for me. By working hard and persevering I feel that I was able to complete a task that I was told for a long time that I couldn’t do. That feeling is always rewarding.