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.

Kansas Wheat Internship- Nicole Stieben

Kansas Wheat is the cooperative agreement between the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. The Kansas Wheat Commission is an advocacy organization, which is funded by Kansas wheat growers. This group works to secure the future of wheat growth in Kansas through research, education and domestic and international market development. The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers is a member-governed organization responsible for representing wheat growers at a national level by providing grass-roots leadership to the U.S. wheat industry. Together, these two entities work through Kansas Wheat to make sure the importance of wheat is known to not only producers, but consumers and buyers as well.

As the communications intern at Kansas Wheat this summer, I had many daily responsibilities that included updating the computer database for the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers, writing press releases on various wheat related issues or events and editing work of other staff members as Kansas Wheat.

I also had a few larger projects that I worked on this summer. From the very start of my internship I was put in charge of making posters, flyers and other forms of publicity for this year’s National Festival of Breads. This baking competition happens every other year and much planning is put into its success, so getting to play a role in this was a great experience. I also did daily harvest reports where I would call around to wheat elevators in Kansas, as well as wheat farmers, to find out the scoop of how their wheat harvest was going. I have previous experience with wheat harvest as I spent many summers working at the elevator in my hometown, so getting to hear from many elevator managers about the progress of harvest in their area was a highlight of this project.

I also had a couple of design projects that were assigned to me during the internship. After the National Festival of Breads was completed, I put together an annual cookbook of the recipes, which was handed out at the State Fair and distributed among nutrition educators around the state. In addition to the cookbook, I was also in charge of putting together the 2011 Kansas Wheat Annual Report. I was challenged with coming up with a fresh design scheme for the report and had fun using techniques I learned from previous experience and my classes at K-State.

During my internship at Kansas Wheat I learned valuable lessons and gained experience that I will use for the rest of my life. The sense of responsibility I was given as an intern helped me the most, as I was given the challenge of meeting deadlines, contacting sources, generating story ideas and being held accountable for my work. I also learned to not be afraid to make mistakes, because in fact that is when you will grow the most.

I have always been a bit reluctant to ask a ton of questions when I’m not sure of what I’m supposed to do. Usually I just try a bunch of different ways until I find something that works for me. But this summer I was faced with deadlines and time constraints that did not allow for this method, so I learned to ask questions and not be afraid of sounding stupid and it turned out to be the best way to show how interested I was in Kansas Wheat as an organization. As soon as I spoke up and voiced my opinion about projects or simple day-to-day tasks, the rest of the staff realized my interest in the success of Kansas Wheat and I was granted more responsibility.