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.

United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development – Jacob Pletcher

I interned with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development May 18 through September 30, 2015. Luckily the USDA RD is very flexible with their Pathway Interns, so I had the opportunity to continue my internship during the first month and a half of school.

I learned about this internship through my wonderful mother who works on the business and industry side of USDA RD. The internship fit extremely well into what I wanted to do during the summer and it was geared mostly towards writing rather than design, which is what I was looking for. Another appealing part of the internship was the location: Topeka, Kansas. With the internship being located in Topeka, I was able to commute back and forth from my hometown with both of my parents, which was a blessing and a curse.

During the internship I was able to hone my writing skills with the help of a very understanding supervisor that was willing to give me thorough feedback. I did not know how to write a press release or how to send out a newsletter. However, with the help of my supervisor, I was able to learn and develop vital skills that a communicator needs.

A typical day at the office for me started around 7:30 a.m. where I would mostly write press releases, create inner office and statewide newsletters, design invitations for upcoming USDA workshops, and work on the Kansas USDA RD page. Office interaction was limited, but when the office was able to get together, we had a fun time. All four of the interns planned a social interaction event where we cooked food and played a life-size game of clue. This was a great way to interact with people in the office that I never had a chance to intermingle with.

My favorite part of my internship would definitely have to be the trips I made to grant/loan recipient sites to do success stories. All of the businesses or individuals that receive grants or loans were so grateful for the financing that they received and they opened their doors to pictures and my questions without hesitation. The personal interaction with these people made it easy to write about and highlight their operations.

I would recommend this internship to anyone who is wanting a communications experience that has more writing than design opportunities. I do not know if this internship will be available again next year. Since USDA RD is a federal agency, this internship heavily depends on the budget for the fiscal year. If you are curious about the availability of an internship with USDA RD, please contact Jessica Bowser at 785-271-2701 or Jessica.Bowser@ks.usda.gov.

Certified Angus Beef- Nicole Lane

Nicole Lane- CAB pic

Honestly, I almost said no.

I came this close to turning the Industry Information Internship with Certified Angus Beef down. I thought there just might be something bigger and better out there when I hesitantly accepted the position as a sophomore last December.

 

I’m so thankful that I said yes because I couldn’t have asked for a better summer internship. I spent my summer writing about cattle producers who raise the best beef on the market. I got to tell the story of incredible agriculturalists. I expanded my writing skills by learning to write lengthy feature stories then tell the same story in blog and video form. I wrote a lot and absolutely loved it.

 

I learned to appreciate my days in the office and love the days out on the ranch. One of my most memorable adventures included a several day road trip with one of my supervisors visiting beef producers from Kansas all the way to Wyoming.

 

My summer at CAB (from about May-August) was spent not only becoming a better writer, but learning about the cattle industry. I went from a girl who didn’t know the difference between a stocker and a cow-calf operation to being able to read and write about beef research articles (Do you know what the Warner-Bratzler Shear Force Procedure is? Because I definitely didn’t!).

 

After meeting Steve Suther (my boss) when he came to speak to ACT last year, I decided to apply for the internship. Over a year later I’m still taking writing assignments from him as a freelancer.

 

Working for CAB is an experience I would recommend to anyone who can write and wants to become a better writer. If you don’t like to write, scratch that, don’t love to write, then it’s not for you. Truly, the hardest part of this internship for me was just simply battling writers block. Well that and learning the cattle industry.

 

However, it was all worth it getting to see my byline and story on the glossy pages of the Angus Journal. Even more so, getting to meet the people at American Angus who work daily on the media productions I got to create content for was an experience in itself. As a CAB intern I got a backstage pass to see the inter workings of the Angus Journal and the Angus Report both of which my work appeared in.

 

Above all, what made my experience at CAB so incredible was the people I got to work with. Though most of our communication was digital or by phone, the CAB’s company culture was (and still is) something that is fun to be a part of. Getting to work on a team that challenges each other, truly enjoys what they get to do and are very passionate about beef was an incredible experience.

 

This internship solidified my love for writing about agriculture and expanded my animal science knowledge. It was the perfect example of a career that I would like to pursue someday. So much so that when my internship ended, my work with CAB didn’t. I’m lucky to still be writing for the brand and learning that someday I hope to make work like this a full time gig.

 

Think this sounds like something you would like to be a part of? Check out CAB’s website or click this link to learn more http://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/recruiting/Description.aspx?id=168&utm_source=Other&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=intern

National FFA Organization- Logan Britton

6060 FFA Drive. An address I had studied for countless hours as a Greenhand member of my high school’s FFA chapter; I never imagined I would have the opportunity to work in the National FFA Center and have a significant experience.

When the American Agricultural Editors’ Association posting about its two summer internship positions came through the ACJ Listserv, I eagerly completed my application as soon as I saw the marketing communications intern would be placed with the National FFA Organization. The application included listing classes taken, essays with a 75-word or fewer limit, a letter of recommendation and submitting work samples. I received a congratulatory email in late February 2014

From June to mid-August 2014, I interned with the marketing, communications, branding and sales management division of national FFA as a marketing communication intern in Indianapolis. My supervisors included Julie Woodard, communications manager; Kristy Meyer, communications/media manager; Katy Mumaw, senior content writer; and Geoffrey Miller, digital media specialist.

In my role, I was in charge of writing stories to be used in new stories, press releases, social media and the organization’s blog. The publications and correspondence I worked with included FFA.org, FFA Pulse, FFA New Horizons, New Visions and Blue Jackets. Bright Futures! My other responsibilities included editing content. Other projects included developing content for the National FFA Convention & Expo and editing content for the future FFA.org site.

During my tenure in Indiana, I was able to develop a better concept of the organization, the National FFA Foundation and National FFA Alumni Association. I also learned more about myself and my skill set. I enjoy development and copy editing, and I was able to use my knowledge for a majority of my internship. Many staff members from other divisions would send me documents to edit because of the reputation I had created with members of my division. Additionally, I was able to branch out and work on a project with search engine optimization for the Shop FFA website.

My favorite project during the summer was writing an article for FFA New Horizons. Being a former FFA member that eagerly awaited each issue, I was thrilled to have the chance to contribute to the magazine. I ventured to Nashville, Tennessee with division staff to tour Journal Communications, Inc., the publisher that develops the magazine, and meet with their staff. I never imagined I would ever be in the magazine, let alone be a writer. Plus, the editor of the magazine usually critiques all articles during her round of edits. She didn’t have any edits for my article, and she said she really liked it. That made me feel pretty great about myself and my writing.

Being from a small Kansas town, it was difficult for me to adjust to city life. The traffic in Indianapolis and the commute to work were my least favorite things. On average, it would take me about 25 minutes to get to work and 45 minutes to get back. To avoid the traffic, I would go to work around 8:30 a.m. and leave 5:30 p.m. As for the internship, being in charge of my schedule was a challenge for me. I was able to work at my own pace, but I would get assignments done promptly and run out of projects for the week. To combat this, I would ask other staff members in the division if they needed assistance on projects.

Along those lines, being creative in my writing has been a struggle for me. Most of the writing I have experience in is informative and deliberative, such as press releases. My biggest area of growth was finding my creative side. Through projects such as the stories for New Visions, FFA New Horizons and the National FFA Organization blog, I felt more comfortable leaving my habit of the inverted pyramid.

From this experience, I definitely want to incorporate communications in my future roles. I really liked developing stories and writing for New Visions and FFA New Horizons. I also enjoyed writing stories for FFA Pulse and selected photos for the landing pages in the e-newsletter. Even as I pursue advanced degrees in agricultural economics and work toward academia, my hope is to use my knowledge of marketing communications in my teaching, freelance projects or any jobs I have in between now and being a professor. Also, I know that I am a people person. I want to work in an environment where I can collaborate and form relationships with others.
For any student interesting in writing and content development, I would suggest looking for the opportunities with FFA during convention as well as the internships sponsored through AAEA. These experiences will put your skills to the test with real-world situations, strengthen your writing, and create strong portfolio items. Due to funding, the marketing, communications, branding and sales management division does not host an internship every year; however, several internship positions are available during the week of national FFA convention including news room, social media and video internships. The AAEA internship positions are announced usually in December or January. Applications are due mid-February and can be found on AAEA’s website, http://www.ageditors.com.