The Nutrients for Life Foundation – Emily Velisek

Everyone at school thought it was awesome that I would be working in D.C. all summer, but for me it was almost what made me not want to take this internship.

This summer I was lucky enough to work for The Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFL). This is a not-for-profit organization that is within The Fertilizer Institute, which is the lobbyist group for fertilizer.

Since I lived in Maryland my whole life, D.C. was not as exciting to me as other students thought when I told them that is where I would be working for my summer.

I guess I did not realize how long it had actually been since I had made the trip down to D.C.. The first few weeks were great because I had the chance to go walk around during my lunch and remember so much from when I was a kid! By the end though I definitely remembered why I did not enjoy D.C.. A lot of it had to do with the commute, but also with how crowed it gets during the summer.

Anyways, once I realized that, I spent more time in the office. I started my internship on May 18th and ended on August 14th. Those 14 weeks flew by and before I knew it, my summer was over.

I could not be more grateful for this internship and lucky that my neighbor helped me get it. I learned a lot about fertilizer and soil, which is a different side of agriculture than what I am used to. I grew up on an Angus cattle farm and showed cattle all my life, so getting to see a different area of agriculture was great for me and I found it very interesting.

I started my internship off by getting asked if I support fertilizer. Not a typical question you get in an interview for a summer internship but I was happy to answer. I am lucky enough to have family that farms about 4,500 acres and have two uncles that work at one of the largest fertilizer companies in Maryland. So my answer was pretty easy: “Yes, I support fertilizer.”

From there I got a project assigned to me for the International Year of Soils, which just happened to be 2015! I started out by doing a lot of research on soil and learning as much as I could. After that I got to work, starting with writing an article for NFL’s Fall 2015 magazine. Once I finished that, I sent it to two of my superiors to edit. While they were editing that I started to work on a blog post and then a blurb for their newsletter. From that I went on to two of the harder parts of my project, making a Facebook cover photo and a video. The cover photo did not seem to take me too long but the video was a challenge. I got the video finished but it did not turn out exactly how I would have liked it.

Some of my other responsibilities were to clean out the database, which may have been the worst thing ever but I know it really helped them. I also did a few things in Excel for people that work at The Fertilizer Institute, which was nice since I knew how to use Excel and could get those done relatively fast.