K-State Department of Plant Pathology – Lindsey Ashmore

Agriculture based communication was a great choice for me as an individual. I describe my career path as the endless possibilities career path. Generally students don’t go to college to graduate and still not know what they are going to do in life but, with the Agricultural Communications and Journalism degree in the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, you can do that with confidence!

For my summer internship, the responsibilities of my current job were increased and expanded. I am a student communications specialist under the supervision of James Stack PhD, at Kansas State University’s award winning Department of Plant Pathology.

The responsibilities are not concrete in this position, but they do accrue over time. Some examples are:

  • Social media management
  • Website building/management
  • Photography/Videography
  • International communication
  • Event planning
  • Journalism
  • Print creation
  • Lab work

When I started my internship this summer I had no idea what would further be instore for me. My very first day, I was thrown into a planning committee for a one-week international course to be held at the Biosecurity Research Institute Pat Roberts Hall at Kansas State University. The course would start in one week. It was my responsibility to catch up, and begin to contribute substantially. I was asked to create the attendee binders, be a chauffeur, tour guide, photographer, videographer, interviewer, communicator, hostess and more.

Post-global course, I was required to pool the material from the course and create a private website for attendees to visit and review. I was extremely proud to learn the cover of the attendee binder was showcased at a presentation given by the dean of the College of Agriculture.

Aside from the global course tasks, I was also required to keep up with the daily tasks. Before one of the lead researchers travelled to South America, I created social media business cards to help spread awareness about the wheat blast social media campaign. I then monitored the social media analytics compared to his location.

My supervisor and lab members travelled globally this summer leaving me with a good amount of alone time. It was spent planning and creating material for them to review and critique when they returned. I even created a surprise video for the lab group. Many of the videos I created were shown as the lab members travelled and even at the USDA headquarters!

This internship pushed me harder than any other communication position yet. I loved having the ability to step out of my communicator role at random times, and I loved being trusted to make things flow smooth. I was surrounded my amazing individuals with incredible passion for what they do. I learned about many cultures and how to interact with them. Most of all, I gained an experience worth looking back on and being proud!

 

Kansas Soybean Association – Dana Schultz

Dana kssoybean


As the summer after my sophomore year quickly approached, I realized my resume was seriously lacking in professional experiences. I needed a summer internship, but I was a little behind. Everyone else was already applying and interviewing for prospective positions. I scoured every website for potential summer internship. I found one on the Career Employment Services website in Topeka, Kansas for the Kansas Soybean Association and Commission. My family grows soybeans and I had a little bit of knowledge on commodity organizations. The post simply stated it was a summer internship with a variety of responsibilities and duties. During the interview, they decided I was the right fit for the position and we set a date for me to start.

One of my major projects was designing and collecting data for the Kansas Congressional Districts report. I used the United States Department of Agriculture’s website to gather statistics about agriculture. These statistics focused on quantity and dollar amounts of crops and livestock raised in the United States. The report was organized to show total production amounts in Kansas, total production amounts for Kansas counties, and where Kansas ranked among other states. The crops recognized were soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum and sunflowers, and the animal products included beef, pork, milk, wool, and honey. Once I had all the information, I designed graphics and illustrations to display this information. Once designed and thoroughly proofed, I presented the printed and electronic version to Kansas Senators and Representatives in Washington D.C. during the National Biodiesel Conference.

I was also in charge of planning the annual Corporate Tour. Each year, the Commission and Association board members travel to a different part of Kansas to tour local agriculture business and meet area members for a few days. During my internship, McPherson, Kansas, was the destination. I was in charge of contacting caterers, meeting venues, restaurants, businesses, and potential guests. I had to keep accurate records of all communication that took place and report all the options for everyone in the office to vote on. Once the itinerary was finalized, I designed and mailed invitations and personally contacted board members to gather a number of attendees. The trip included a tour of Lindsborg, Kansas, a tour of AgCo in Hesston, Kansas, a tour of McPherson’s oil refinery, a tour of PrairieLand Partners, a tour of the Hesston, Kansas lawn mower factory, a meeting at the McPherson Opera House, meals catered during lunch and dinners at local restaurants.

Among other smaller office duties, I created and mailed the annual Biodiesel Survey, traveled to farm shows to promote soy products, updated the membership data used in presentations, presented a soy products presentation to the Emerging Leaders Academy, and attended various conferences for soy products and biodiesel.

My internship started in May of 2014 and ended in August of 2014. This internship was a great opportunity to meet industry professionals, travel, boost communication skills and sharpen professional abilities. The people I worked with were great at finding the balance between a learning college student and a business professional. They were flexible with me and constantly pushed me to do my absolute best. I learned how to better connect my presentations and designs to the audience and to keep accurate records of communications while planning an event. This is a great internship for anyone who isn’t quite sure where they want to go in the industry. The supervisors easily tailor the internship to build your experience to fit your goals.

To apply for the Kansas Soybean Commission internship, visit http://kansassoybeans.org/forms/ or contact Kenlon Johannes at Johannes@kansassoybeans.org.

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.

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. 

Mid Kansas Cooperative Internship- Calli Mathews

Mid Kansas Cooperative Association is a full-service farm cooperative offering a complete line of supplies and services for both farm and urban customers in 11 counties throughout central Kansas. MKC has a current membership of more than 4,800 members. MKC was founded in 1965 by the merger of three neighboring cooperatives in Moundridge, Buhler, and Groveland. Since its founding, it has grown in size and territory through mergers and acquisitions. More than 200 employees play an important role in the growth and success of MKC. Thirty-four grain locations offer combined elevator space of 29.3 million bushels. Wheat is the major crop grown. Due to the area having a strong aquifer underlying much of its territory, this allows irrigation of corn and soybeans. MKC offers a lot of different services some of which include: Agronomy, Precision Ag, Energy, Feed, Grain, and Financial assistance. I was fortunate enough to have interned for MKC and will be discussing the things that I gained from this experience.

During my internship, I was assigned a lot of different duties. When I first arrived at MKC, my first task was heading the Annual Meeting. Some of my responsibilities involved finding a caterer, photographer, florist, entertainment, and workers to help with registration. The event took place at the State Fair Grounds in Hutchinson, Kansas. We were only allowed 48 hours to set up for the event and a lot of time went into setting up stages, decorations, tables and chairs. During the Annual Meeting, I was responsible for prompting speakers and working with the tech employees.

The answer plot session that MKC provided was an educational tool for the farmers to see the different crop and herbicide varieties that would fit into their crop rotations. My responsibility was to send out the mailings providing the general information about the event. The day of the event I was heading the registration table and overseeing the preparation of the food. Along with this event came customer appreciation meals. After wheat harvest is over MKC puts on meals at the different locations within their territory. Among these, the MKC employees and I would prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for the members and their families. This was an opportunity for MKC to get out among their members and show the appreciation they have for them. This was the most enjoyable part of my internship because I was able to get out and meet the variety of people that MKC provided services to.

I was also involved in heading the community stewardship campaign. MKC was fortunate enough to be in a partnership with Land O Lakes, in which we were able to bid for grants to help out communities in our surrounding area. I was able to meet the different organizations and help make their projects come true. Within the last five years, MKC has been able to donate over $300,000 to different organizations. I was also able to use my dsign skills by heading other campaign projects for Team Marketing Alliance, which was the Grain division for MKC. Coupling that, I brainstormed ideas for the new MKC website and Facebook page. This was something I was apprehensive about, but gained a lot of experience and confidence through working with graphic designers and the tech employees.

I was able to gain a lot of experience by writing for the company website, employee newsletter and the MKC magazine “Connections”. This was a neat aspect of the internship because I was able to interview new people and employees. Also, I got the opportunity to write all of the biographies for the Field Marketers, Certified Energy Specialist and board members. Along with the writing I got a lot of editing experience. MKC invited their employees to write articles for both publications, so with that all of them needed editing.

MKC taught me a lot about how to be confident in myself and take charge in any situation. A lot of that was due to my supervisor who was diagnosed with cancer right before my internship began. I had to hit the ground running the moment I set foot in her office. She gave me the opportunity to step up and use the skills that I obtained in class and put them to work in the real world. I was able to put my public speaking skills to the test when I was asked to give a presentation to the CEO and board members about the new Facebook page I was creating. Overall, I was able to understand the cooperative sector. Before this experience I hadn’t put much thought into what a Coop really was. However, after being so involved with MKC I learned that the cooperative sector is where I would like to stay. At the end of the day, we are there for the farmers and their families and I appreciated the effort that MKC put into satisfying each and every one of them.