It was to be the first real job I’ve ever had, dependent upon using programs I was merely an amateur at. Sounds scary, right? That may be how my summer at the American Hereford Association felt at first, but that isn’t how it ended. I would not have traded my internship experience aboard the staff of Creative Services/Hereford Publications, Inc. for any other summer adventure.
My interning journey began June 2nd and wrapped up August 20th. In those two-and-a-half months, I learned a lot of valuable communication skills, but more importantly, I discovered a lot of insight about my future career plans. Working in Creative Services, I coordinated the creation and production of a wide range of promotional materials and catalogs for cattle (and elk) ranches. This involved using Adobe InDesign for layout and even a little design of my own, communicating preferences with clients, and also using Photoshop and Illustrator to assist in the design. Previous to this summer, I knew just as much about my future career as the next person. Then I fell in love with the kind of work I did and, using my creativity and critical thinking skills, I knew by the end of the summer that this was exactly the line of work I want to pursue.
The biggest personal progress I saw during my adventure was understanding and using the Adobe programs. Without AGCOM210 (Principles of Layout and Design) on my transcript, I wasn’t sure how easily I would adapt. Luckily the tutorials and guided use in our slow periods at work gave me a solid foundation of the Adobe cloud.
Along with the skills attained this summer, there were a lot of exciting events that took place. I really loved traveling to the Junior National Hereford Expo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The purpose of my attendance was labeling photos for the photographer to have them uploaded to the website and ordering shop. Though I worked long hours, it was exhilarating to be around the show atmosphere. I had never attended a national show before, so it was all so new to see the proceedings of the show life. A lot of neat things happened right at our office too. The AHA office is stationed right next to the big convention center in downtown Kansas City, where a lot of things occurred this summer. There was the National Skills USA Competition, Ramadan and President Barack Obama’s arrival, but by far the neatest part was when the American Idol auditions were in town. The day the judges came, our office took the lunch hour to stand outside for the arrival of J-Lo, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. (Look for me on television!)
Even with all of the excitement happening, there were still a few things I would have wanted different. I mentioned earlier my experience pushed me to a conclusion about my future career, though I also want to incorporate more than desk work into my upcoming career. My internship was solely desk and computer work, which doesn’t entirely suit my personality. I want to be out moving around, maybe capturing my own photos for any print work I do in the future.
I am thankful for all the time spent at the Hereford Association this summer and all the staff I worked with and I believe I can owe this whole great opportunity to knowing the right people. My boss for the summer is someone I have known through county 4-H for many years, and she has been giving me helpful tips about Ag Communications since I announced it was my intended study pursuit. She encouraged me to job shadow at the office prior to college, and I did just that. Two summers ago, I went in for a day and met everyone and learned what the office was like. I think it helped tremendously for my internship interview, which was by phone, because they all had a face to put with my name and a previous encounter to judge my assimilation to the office.
If you are looking for an internship that works extensively with design, you are good at communicating ideas with clients, you have a background in the beef industry, and you want to learn a wide variety of basic communication skills, I recommend this internship for you. Be looking out for the application next February!