Van Wall Group- Brooke Harshaw

I interned at the Van Wall Group Headquarters in Perry, Iowa from July 1 through August 15 of 2014.

I found out about this internship through a friend of my aunt’s. Her husband’s family owns Van Wall, and because I am a John Deere fan in a communications major, she reached out to me about potentially interning there.

I was expected to function as part of the marketing team, which included design work; writing copy for radio, web, and print advertising; coming up with ideas and problem solving for set up/take down for the Farm Progress Show and the Iowa State Fair. I learned that the marketing team does A LOT – from figuring out what we’ll be doing for employee and customer Christmas presents to putting together their Fall Catalog, working on videos, website, and more, they’re involved with just about everything that happens in the business.

Skills-wise, I think my biggest area of improvement was in using the Creative Cloud programs. There wasn’t a day that I didn’t use Photoshop, and most days I used Illustrator and InDesign, too. In other areas, I think my ability to prioritize and be flexible also improved tremendously.

My favorite parts of the internship were when I was doing things like cleaning out the toy trailer and re-organizing it, as well as when I got to see my finished projects! I’m a very hands-on, physically active person, so the few days that I got to go down and work on cleaning out the trailer full of toys, I was a pretty happy camper. However, I also really like to see finished products, therefore when the days when I finished a big or new project that I’d been working on (radio scripts and the Fall Catalog), I was ecstatic. It was really fun learning new things and working with a team that not only took the time to help me, but cared and appreciated my work. As I said before, I really enjoy physical work, so the least favorite part of my internship was sitting at a desk for an extended period of time.

Like most students, I’m not exactly sure where the road of agricultural communications will take me, but I definitely expect to use the CS6 and face-to-face communications skills that I learned from this internship in my future career.

I think this would be an excellent internship for self-motivated students looking to be thrown into the industry. They will need to have the CS6 or Creative Cloud skills to be able to put together a magazine-type publication.  They will also need to be willing to travel to Iowa for the summer.  If you feel like you’re one of those students who is self-motivated, willing to move, and be thrown into the industry, you can apply by emailing my supervisor, Matt Van Houweling at matt.vanhouweling@vanwall.com.