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.