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 – Audrey Green

Why is there so much construction north of the Kansas State University Campus? What could that new, huge building possibly be? The Kansas Department of Agriculture has relocated to Manhattan, providing new opportunities for Kansas agriculturalists and Kansas State University students.

Spending my time in the innovative new building, the fall and spring semesters of my sophomore year I served as a Kansas Department of Agriculture Communications Intern. This internship came to me by way of Dr. Ellis, an Agriculture Communications professor at Kansas State University. After exhibiting interest in the position and receiving an interview, I began my internship at the beginning of September 2014.

“Back to the basics.” The foundation of this internship was to take the basic skills of communications and polish them. I began writing press releases almost immediately and was given feedback to improve my writing skills. Arriving at KDA, I had very limited knowledge of design software. Now, my design repertoire has grown immensely and I feel comfortable in the Adobe Creative Suite applications.

Playing a key role in the organization of Kansas Agriculture Month was by far my favorite part of this internship. A goal I had set for myself before coming to KDA was to network with as many Agriculture Communicators as possible. Meeting with the Agriculture Communicators and Educators group to plan Kansas Agriculture Month fulfilled that goal. With only a few planning meetings, the diverse group was able to advocate for agriculture throughout the month of March. Some of the highlights included: hosting the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive at Dillon’s stores, delivering cookies with customized agriculture statistics to members of the Kansas Legislature, conducting a photography workshop for Kansas agriculture photographers with National Geographic Photographer Jim Richardson and an evening lecture with Jim Richardson that was followed by an in depth agriculture panel.

Planning Kansas Agriculture Month was an eye opening experience. I was able to step into the shoes of an Agriculture Communicator in the real world. Learning responsibility, time management and effective communication, this event helped prepare me a future after graduation.

If I had to choose a least favorite part of my internship at KDA, I would have to rack my brain. Each and every day was filled with new twists and turns, giving a glimpse of what a communications specialist would do. The days I was not as busy, or did not have as many projects to work on, were my least favorite days. In saying that, sometimes a break is nothing to complain about!

Students can be selected for this internship, or other internships at KDA, by applying through the Governor’s Office Internship Program. The program is designed to give high-quality college students real world experience. A link to the program can be found here: https://governor.ks.gov/serving-kansans/internship.

Who would I recommend this internship to? Any student who is passionate about agriculture, driven and willing to put in hard work would be an excellent fit for this position.

KDA has a professional yet fun working environment, and its location is superb for Kansas State University students. Although avoiding the road construction on Manhattan Avenue can be a pain, the valuable experience I received from this internship made the bright orange cones seem much less troublesome.