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.

DRIVE Livestock Internship- Chelsey Smith

I interned for DRIVE Livestock, a company that was created in 2011. DRIVE recognizes achievement, encourages personal development and educates livestock youth on the opportunities in agriculture through trendy, consistent, accurate and relevant media.

While at DRIVE, I was the social media and events promotions intern. My duties were directly related to DRIVE social media platforms, which drive our content on our website and in our print publication. I created, developed, maintained and managed our social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. When the new website was ready for use I started incorporating this social media outlet into my daily routine. The goal for every day was to post on Facebook using an image, tweet about something DRIVE was doing or something related to youth in the stock show industry, as well as post a photo on Instagram. The tough part about creating engagement on our social media outlets is that each outlet reaches or engages with a different demographic audience. In addition to managing our social networking accounts, I was also responsible for formulating and executing contests for our followers to participate in.

Throughout this internship I had an opportunity to learn many skills that I considered to be life essentials that I wasn’t expecting to learn throughout the semester. The work environment at DRIVE was very unique. No one at the company was over the age of 30 and therefore the workplace was very competitive even though no one had to compete for their job to keep it. Working as a team to accomplish a goal for a customer was emphasized but carried out in a unique way.

When I started this internship I was hoping it would help me to determine what I want to do with my future. I do not believe marketing and advertising are in my future, but I have learned a great deal that can be applied to just about any career I may choose. The owner for Encore Visions and DRIVE, Jackie Lackey, made a statement early in my internship, which I had heard before but never fully embraced, “competition is key, life is about whom you know, not what you know.” This internship really taught me that especially in the livestock industry, success is determined from hard work, competition and whom one knows.