IGP Institute – Kylie Blythe

This summer I interned at IGP Institute as the distance education intern. I was located in Manhattan, Kansas so I was able to stay in Manhattan for the summer. I started this internship in May and ended it in August.

My roommate, Kelly Hannigan, had also interned at IGP Institute the previous summer and told me that they had an opening for this summer. I was able to contact my boss through email and had an interview the next day. The application process was pretty easy.

I was very excited to learn that I was going to have this internship for the summer. I worked for Brandi Miller, the distance education coordinator at IGP. My duties included organizing courses in Canvas online, organizing courses in K-State Pro, editing lecture videos using Camtasia and occasionally writing press releases.

One of the bigger projects that I got to work on throughout the summer was creating demonstration videos for a cereal science course. I got to work with Debi Rogers at AIB to renovate the grain science course that she taught. I worked with Debi to organize the order of the demonstration videos and plan the times to film, and then I was able to operate the video camera and record Debi while she narrated the demonstrations. After they were all filmed I used Final Cut Pro to edit the audio and lighting of the videos as well as adding in titles. There were a total of 24 videos.

Another big project I did was to take all the distance education course content and switch it from K-State Pro learning management system to Canvas learning management system. There were a total of 26 courses that I downloaded all the content for and reorganized into Canvas. I also had to create quizzes and message boards in Canvas so I got very familiar with how this learning management system works. I also used Mediasite to upload lecture videos for the courses.

IGP Institute was also invited by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service to conduct a grain and oilseed industry overview seminar. I was able to travel to Washington, D.C. with Jay O’Neil and assisted him with his presentation preparation and took photographs of the seminar. I was also able to meet with several different companies while I was there. I got to sit down and chat with their communications department and learn about their roles as communicators in the agriculture industry. It was a great insight into the communications side of agriculture, and a great networking opportunity for me. I was also in charge of writing the press release that covered the seminar in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the rest of the summer I was given a few miscellaneous projects that helped me build my experience. I got to work a little with InDesign and Photoshop as well.

This internship gave me several projects that I was able to add to my portfolio, as well as skills that I was able to add to my resume. I would recommend this internship to anyone looking to improve their communication skills and networking opportunities.

IGP Institute- Kelly Hannigan

As I was finishing up my junior year, it was finally starting to dawn on me that graduation was quickly approaching. Agricultural communications had always been my home and I was happy there but I knew that if I wanted to get a head start on my career, I needed to take the first steps in gaining professional experience.

I’m not entirely sure why, but I had always pictured internships as they were portrayed in movies. I assumed I’d be fetching coffee and making copies for eight hours a day, five days a week and if I was lucky, I might be able to write a news release once in a while. Thankfully, my internship at the IGP Institute was nothing like I had initially imagined.

After coming back from Christmas break when my parents so kindly urged me to make a career plan, I began searching the Career and Employment Services job board online. However, I ended up hearing about the IGP Institute communications internship through the ACJ listserv. What drew me to this position was the reputation that the IGP Institute possesses throughout campus. In all honesty, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was that they did but I knew that they were a very prestigious establishment and the students that had worked there before had wonderful things to say about their time there.

In the spring of 2014, I was offered the communications internship and I am still presently working there as a part-time communications intern and part-time distance education intern. As the communications intern, I was responsible for writing and editing press releases, updating and maintaining the social media platforms and updating the website. As a summer project, the associate director of the IGP Institute, Mark Fowler, also asked me to conduct social media research project to help improve their overall marketing efforts. The research included conducting five focus groups and then later creating a top line report to present to the IGP staff and advisory board members.

It’s incredibly difficult for me to narrow down a specific area that I feel like I’ve grown the most this summer. From a technical standpoint, I was able to refine my writing skills to create professional news releases. As far as personal growth, one of the most rewarding aspects of the internship for me was the involvement with the course participants. I had lived a fairly sheltered life growing up in Strong City, Kan. I had never really been around so many different cultures or experienced first-hand the diversity that the IGP courses had to offer. I think I learned more from the conversations I had with the participants than I ever did in a classroom. The interaction with the participants was by far my favorite part of the internship. I was able to develop networking relationships with industry professionals from not only Kansas, but from around the world.

If I had to choose any one thing that I least enjoyed about my internship at IGP, it would probably be the desk time. I’ve never been the kind to enjoy sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Luckily, this internship provided many field trip opportunities where I was able to tag along and take photos so I wasn’t always in the office. It did teach me however, that when I look for a job after graduation, I need something that incorporates fieldwork into the communications position.

Taking this internship was easily the best decision I’ve made since attending K-State. I’ve not only grown as a professional, but as a person. I was incredibly lucky to work with such a talented group of people at IGP that were genuinely interested in teaching me. Even the staff members that weren’t involved with the communications department took the time to help me with any questions I had or involve me in each project. I may not have a lot of industry experience, but I do know that the IGP Institute team is one of the best work environments I will ever be in. They were always quick to congratulate me any time a news release was published and always wanted to see each other succeed. Just by being around this incredible group of people, I’ve learned what a professional team truly is.

To apply for internships at the IGP Institute, contact Lisa Moser at lmoser@ksu.edu. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone that wants to get his or her foot in the door with the agricultural industry. Even if you aren’t sure what it is you want to do after graduation, this is a great job to jump in to. There are all aspects of communications incorporated into this position ranging from video editing to creating news releases.