Kansas Electric Cooperatives- Kennedy St. George

As a second year student at K-State, I never would have guessed that such an incredible experience would have come my way. I had the opportunity to intern with Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., from October 2013 through May of 2014.

Kansas Electric Cooperatives (KEC) is the statewide service organization for the rural electric cooperatives in Kansas. Formed in 1941, KEC represents the interests of our members which includes 29 distributive cooperatives and three generation and transmission electric co-ops. Located in Topeka, I commuted four days a week from Manhattan to be in the office. I also had the opportunity to see different parts of the state and worked from home some days as well.

I heard about the internship possibility after visiting the all university career fair in the fall and was hired on in October, after an internship with the State Fair of Texas. I was drawn to the internship due to the aspect of the magazine that was published and my interest in writing for a publication. Each month KEC and the communications team turns out Kansas Country Living magazine that has a circulation of 122,000 households.

Aside from the magazine, I was guaranteed a well rounded experience and I was not let down by that promise at all. My internship duties included writing for the magazine, as well as the newsletter, Rural Power, photography, and design; however, I got a lot more than that. I also had the opportunity to do event planning, advertisement sales, company representative at career shows and member annual meetings for our cooperatives across the state, interviewer for youth tour participants, and so much more. I had only opened Adobe suit once prior to this experience and now I have it on my personal computer and use it somewhere once a day.

My writings included feature stories, interview recaps, statewide news, legal issues that our members needed to know about, and even monthly book reviews. Each month I had the opportunity to layout and design cooperative specific centerspreads that are inserted into the magazine. I learned the value to deadlines when my direct supervisor was on maternity leave for two magazines!

A photo I took was even used on the cover of February 2014’s magazine! I took a lot of pictures for covers and of events that the cooperatives held across the state for their members. The photos were then used for projects either at KEC for the statewide or within the cooperatives centerspreads. Through my photography, I was able to learn more about Photoshop and had many projects to utilize what I learned. Trying to do a cover of KCL was my favorite thing to do in Photoshop.

I got a well-rounded experience and a lot of pieces to build my portfolio with my time at KEC. I have truly enjoyed the sense of community for the members we work for and this summer I will be headed to Dodge City for the communications specialist intern position with Victory Electric, one of the members that I help now through the state wide.

The professionalism and the skills that I acquired through my internship really set in stone for me that I enjoy working for a publication, working on deadline, and really do enjoy writing as much as I thought I had.

I cannot wait to see where this degree leads me in the future, but for now I couldn’t be more pleased for the opportunities that have been presented to me from the internship with Shana Read, Carrie Kimberlin, and the rest of the staff at Kansas Electric Cooperatives.