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.

Wilson/Kedley Cattle Company – Deven King

The Best of Both Worlds

I didn’t have the typical internship by any means. In fact the job just kind of fell in my hands when I got the phone call from the Wilsons, however, as the saying goes sometimes the best things in life are unexpected. I spent the summer working for Wilson/Kedley Cattle Company. By far the most beautiful cattle facilities I’d ever seen, a show barn kid like myself would have killed to grow up around an incredible set of cows. It sound like a lot of cattle work doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too, but that isn’t what the owners had in mind. To my surprise I quickly found I would get the opportunity to work with individuals in every aspect of the cattle industry.

Charlie Wilson, Owner, was the one who approached me with the idea. He was aware that I had recently switched majors and transferred to Kansas State. This was exciting for him as he felt my ability to write could be a huge asset for marketing the company and primarily the cattle. I was there to help picture all the cattle and pick the pictures we’d use. I decided which magazines we would advertise with and handled contacting people about designing the ad layouts. With my previous experience with the Black Hawk Livestock judging team, I was the perfect one to write about cattle descriptions and even take phone calls to describe cattle to potential buyers. While this doesn’t sound much more complicated then what your average cattle company sales team would do I got to manage a lot of other things too.

As a way of thanking customers both past and present I got to work on redesigning the company logo and then work with Purina on getting the cost of the hats sponsored. By agreeing to put there logo on the back we worked out a deal where they would pay for a certain percentage of whatever we ordered. While working with Purina on the hat deal I also got them to agree to host a fitting and feeding clinic that we would host at the Wilson facilities. They sent a representative out who discussed feeding techniques and what each product was meant to do while Charlie Wilson went over and displayed how to properly wash, clip, and fit a show animal. The turnout was tremendous. I invited 50 local people through Charlie’s Facebook page I was running, and just over 40 showed up. Once rumor got around about how educational and beneficial the evening was, the local county fair approached me about organizing the event again at the county fair.

This would prove to be a bit more of a challenge. Purina and Charlie agreed to the idea immediately agreed to idea but I would have to battle the hardships of the county fair board and how there sponsorships worked. If Charlie and the rest of Wilson/Kedley wanted to use this as a marketing strategy there were certain rules that had to followed so that Purina could also be there and the fair board could still advertise it. This taught me a lot about the inside relationships between a company and how money works when dealing with multiple companies on the same sponsorship, especially when considering insurance policies.

During my time in senior college I have focused on numerous animal science classes as well. Working at Wilson/Kedley gave me a chance to use not only what I’d learned from a communications major standpoint but also from animal science. In fact the first night I was here I was so excited I got to watch a C-section performed on a mature cow. In time I would get to give vaccines and keep records that would be given to buyers after their purchase. I also came up with rations and feeding plans with our local Purina dealer.

Although these are only a few of my experiences, I feel my time at Wilson/Kedley was extremely beneficial. Not only did I get to run their social media outlets and promote some of the best cattle you can find but I also learned about business relations and how giving back to people is ultimately the best way to promote a company. I loved my hands on time with the cattle and the chance to apply what I had learned growing up and in animal science. The people amount of people I have met had a huge impact on how I look at the industry and how I will communicate in future employment situations. I’m proud to still be working with Wilson/Kedley on all their social media and marketing needs. I would strongly encourage anyone to take an internship such as this one. It did not apply strictly to just communications but I think that’s what makes it so special, now I can convey what I know about other aspects of the agricultural industry with confidence because I’ve dealt with it firsthand not only on a personal level at home but with a different operation.

American Angus Association – Sarah Harris

I interned this summer with the American Angus Association as the communications and public relations intern. The application process was very fast paced and I was not sure what to expect when I got to Saint Joseph for the first day.

The original deadline to apply for this internship was March 1, and though I had thought about applying I did not get an application turned in. Luckily, a few weeks after the deadline Dr. Ellis forwarded an email from Jena McRell at the American Angus Association looking for more applicants for the position. I jumped at the missed opportunity and sent in my resume, cover letter, and two writing samples on March 23. I was amazed to get a reply the next morning — then set up a phone interview for March 25. I traveled to the Association headquarters in Saint Joseph, Missouri for an interview on April 2.

A few days after the interview in Missouri I was offered the position and accepted. A few short weeks later, I packed up and headed to Saint Joseph for the summer. My internship lasted from May 18 to August 13, and was packed with a ton of experiences in a very short time.

Day one I was given a handful of assignments to start working on including putting together a media kit for the National Junior Angus Show, media releases to write and some design projects. It was almost overwhelming. I had never written a news release and I got lost looking for the office where I was conducting an interview; however, I did learn the layout of the Association building very quickly.

The American Angus Association was host to six interns this summer in different areas of focus — The Angus Journal, Angus Genetics Inc., events and activities, and Angus Media. I feel like I had one of the best experiences, as I was able to work in every area rather than just one. Going into the summer I was not sure what I wanted to do with my degree in when I graduate in December, but my experiences with the American Angus Association have given me a better direction.

My favorite part of the summer was by far working with the production team for The Angus Report. I got to experience everything from running the teleprompter to writing scripts for the show. It was very fulfilling to see videos that I had shot and interviews that I had cut be used for an actual television show.

Throughout the duration of my internship there was never a dull moment and the workload never slowed down, which made the summer fly by. The National Junior Angus Show in July was another one of my favorite parts of the experience. A majority of the work I had done in the summer was leading up to the show and it was inspiring to see everything come together. In addition to seeing my designs displayed around the show ring, barns and printed in the show book, I was able to get a years worth of experience in one week. While at the show in Tulsa, Okla., I gained experience with social media coverage, news releases on winners and events, video interviews to be used for The Angus Report television show, photography, and writing personal interest stories.

I would recommend this internship to everyone — especially those who are not sure of what path in communications they want to go down. This internship gives you experience in writing, design, photography, videography and social media management along with a chance to travel to shows, farms and ranches. I learned so much and cannot express how blessed I was to have this experience with the American Angus Association.

Kansas Department of Agriculture – Dandi Thomas

This summer I interned at the Kansas Department of Agriculture as a Communications Intern. I was located in Manhattan, Kansas in the Manhattan office, which allowed me to stay in Manhattan for the summer. I started my internship at the beginning of May and am still holding the position.

I learned about this internship through the agricultural communications and journalism listserv and applied through the Governor’s Internship Program at the beginning of May. I applied for the summer internship, but they also have fall and spring internships as well.

Through college I had the opportunity to have several jobs, each one more pertinent to my major than the next. When I applied for this internship, I felt like it could suit me extremely well and get me moving in the direction I wanted to with my career and resume, more so than the campus jobs I had had in the past.

My internship was directly under Megan Macy, the Director of PR for the agency. My duties included graphic design, website design, social media management and content creation, as well as other communication duties.

In the beginning, I was assigned various projects for other departments at KDA and was told to work with their department heads. This proved to be very challenging for me. Though updating the documents and creating their web pages was fairly easy, teaching and helping the other departments about what communications does was very difficult. I found myself having to explain things many times and had to redo several pages because the communication between the department and myself was clouded and unclear. This first few weeks of my internship taught me a very useful lesson about working with people outside of communications, and how to help them create their vision even if they don’t know how to communicate what they want at first. This lesson will forever stay in my mind, helping me be more dynamic in the workplace.

Through the rest of my internship, I was given a few projects but was given the reins to make those projects what I wanted them to be. My passion is graphic design, so most of my projects were focused around becoming a better designer and creating pieces that can be transformed into other multi-media designs.

Another great experience I was able to have with KDA was the gathering of marketing materials for other departments. I was able to set up appointments with animal breeders and shelters across the state, and travel with Megan to take photographs of animals and facilities. This was a good experience to help me strengthen my photography skills and work with others while shooting photos.

To this date, I have created and worked on over 50 projects for the Kansas Department of Agriculture and have enjoyed the experience thoroughly. The networking connections and experiences that I have been able to have through this internship will be exponentially important to my career.

I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in creating great portfolio pieces and gain experience in social media, designing, and marketing.

Kansas Electric Cooperatives- Kennedy St. George

As a second year student at K-State, I never would have guessed that such an incredible experience would have come my way. I had the opportunity to intern with Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., from October 2013 through May of 2014.

Kansas Electric Cooperatives (KEC) is the statewide service organization for the rural electric cooperatives in Kansas. Formed in 1941, KEC represents the interests of our members which includes 29 distributive cooperatives and three generation and transmission electric co-ops. Located in Topeka, I commuted four days a week from Manhattan to be in the office. I also had the opportunity to see different parts of the state and worked from home some days as well.

I heard about the internship possibility after visiting the all university career fair in the fall and was hired on in October, after an internship with the State Fair of Texas. I was drawn to the internship due to the aspect of the magazine that was published and my interest in writing for a publication. Each month KEC and the communications team turns out Kansas Country Living magazine that has a circulation of 122,000 households.

Aside from the magazine, I was guaranteed a well rounded experience and I was not let down by that promise at all. My internship duties included writing for the magazine, as well as the newsletter, Rural Power, photography, and design; however, I got a lot more than that. I also had the opportunity to do event planning, advertisement sales, company representative at career shows and member annual meetings for our cooperatives across the state, interviewer for youth tour participants, and so much more. I had only opened Adobe suit once prior to this experience and now I have it on my personal computer and use it somewhere once a day.

My writings included feature stories, interview recaps, statewide news, legal issues that our members needed to know about, and even monthly book reviews. Each month I had the opportunity to layout and design cooperative specific centerspreads that are inserted into the magazine. I learned the value to deadlines when my direct supervisor was on maternity leave for two magazines!

A photo I took was even used on the cover of February 2014’s magazine! I took a lot of pictures for covers and of events that the cooperatives held across the state for their members. The photos were then used for projects either at KEC for the statewide or within the cooperatives centerspreads. Through my photography, I was able to learn more about Photoshop and had many projects to utilize what I learned. Trying to do a cover of KCL was my favorite thing to do in Photoshop.

I got a well-rounded experience and a lot of pieces to build my portfolio with my time at KEC. I have truly enjoyed the sense of community for the members we work for and this summer I will be headed to Dodge City for the communications specialist intern position with Victory Electric, one of the members that I help now through the state wide.

The professionalism and the skills that I acquired through my internship really set in stone for me that I enjoy working for a publication, working on deadline, and really do enjoy writing as much as I thought I had.

I cannot wait to see where this degree leads me in the future, but for now I couldn’t be more pleased for the opportunities that have been presented to me from the internship with Shana Read, Carrie Kimberlin, and the rest of the staff at Kansas Electric Cooperatives. 

Huncovsky Marketing Internship- Shelbi Stous

My internship was with Huncovsky Marketing began in September 2012 at the Kansas State Fair taking backdrop and candid photos at the livestock show. The following month, the company hired me again to shoot photos at the Kansas Junior Livestock Show in Wichita.

Huncovsky Marketing is owned by Quint Huncovsky and located in Manhattan. It’s a small business with 2-3 part time employees, and the office is located out of Quint’s home. Huncovsky Marketing is a full-service marketing firm specializing in agricultural products, mainly livestock. Services include email advertising, print media and digital media. Most business comes from cattle sale catalogs, email blasts, advertisement design, sale photos and sale videos.

My role with Huncovsky Marketing varies depending on what needs to be done. During the winter months when ranches are preparing for sales, I help photograph and video the cattle that will be sold. For example, last winter River Creek Farms hired Quint to take the photos and videos for their sale. Quint and I went to the ranch and set up a picture and video pen to shoot in. Each head of cattle is run through the pen individually. Sometimes my job would be to ensure the cattle calmly walked the fence line and then turn them around when they reach the end, or stop in a certain way that makes them look good for the picture. This sounds boring, but it’s actually a very tiring and difficult job. Sometimes there are 100 head of cattle we have to get through in a day, and not all of them cooperate. (I’ve only had to jump up on the fence twice to avoid being ran over by an upset heifer or bull.) Other times, I get to be behind the video camera and shoot the footage of the cattle. There are many details in taking photos and videos to ensure the cattle look their best so they look attractive to the people interested in purchasing them. After the shooting process, the videos need edited and published. Even if I don’t go out to the ranches to shoot, Quint still gives me the videos to edit. Each animal has an individual YouTube video anywhere between 20 seconds and one minute and 30 seconds and includes the ranch’s logo and the lot number for that specific animal.

For sale catalogs, my main responsibility is gathering pedigree information and EPD’s for the cattle. The ranch provides us registration information for each head, and the breed association website provides the individual information for each animal. Each animal that will be sold in the sale will have its own information in the catalog.

I found out about this internship through a friend who had also done some work for Quint. Because I worked hard at the two shows, he continued to ask me to work for him. I am very glad that I was able to work for Huncovsky Marketing because I discovered that livestock marketing is what I want to do in my future. I would like to work for Quint full-time someday, but right now he is not expanding the business enough to hire someone full-time. He hopes to expand in the next three or four years, but he has mentioned eventually bringing me on the team full-time. Not only did I realize that livestock marketing is what I really enjoy doing, but I gained livestock handling skills also. People may be hard to work with, but at least you can verbally tell them what you need them to do and they (should be able to) understand you. With livestock, you can tell them all you want, but they won’t understand. I’ve gained a lot of patience and understanding with these animals, especially cattle. I also learned valuable customer relation skills. Word of mouth is a strong way to gain business, and ranchers like to talk. For example, it’s great to do business with someone such as taking photos for their sale catalog, but if you can actually attend their sale, it shows that you not only care about your business, but you care about their business too. They probably will be happy and impressed that you attended the sale, and might continue to do business with you in the future and recommend you to other ranchers.

Like any industry, the livestock world has its trends. Some trends fade out, and some last for a very long time. After I started working for Quint, I was exposed more to the livestock world. I even got a job at one of the university’s animal units to gain more experience with cattle. I started to see more and more trends and ideas that people had, and could figure out if others were going to follow. There have been good trends and bad ones, but the good ones are really good, and the people who paved the way are greatly benefiting from it. I have learned to not be scared to lead the way in an industry. We shouldn’t be scared to try new ideas because they might take off and become more popular than anyone would have thought. Of course, it’s always good to think an idea through all the way and develop it fully before just throwing it out there.

Overall, my internship with Huncovsky Marketing has been a wonderful experience. I hope to return to Manhattan in a few years and work for him full-time. As much as I complained about the cold, windy and muddy picture pen, I will really miss going out to ranches to take photos and videos this winter!

Certified Angus Beef Internship- Wyatt Bechtel

For my internship I worked with Certified Angus Beef with their Industry Information Division as a writing intern. CAB is a branded beef program that helps promote beef produced by Angus cattle. The brand is owned by approximately 30,000 American Angus Association members and was established in 1978 by several Ohio cattlemen. The organization has maintained its roots in Ohio by having the headquarters in Wooster.

With the Industry Information Division the purpose is to inform producers about management techniques or new research that will aid them in meeting the parameters of CAB’s program. My supervisor was the director of the division, Steve Suther, who is based out of Onaga, Kansas. Much of my correspondence with Steven for stories or other assignments was via email. Miranda Reiman was another member of the Industry Information team who sent me work, and on certain occasions Laura Nelson would have assignments for me too. Miranda is based out of her home in Cozard, Nebraska, and Laura works in the main office in Wooster. During my internship I worked at the Supply Development Office in Manhattan.

I worked from May 16 to July 28, and I have also done some work with CAB during the school year on a freelance basis. Each week I worked approximately 40 hours during the summer and had some overtime here and there. My approximate amount of hours worked would be 450 hours. I had hoped to work some more freelance jobs for CAB during the school year, but the company had several other interns during this time so there was not enough writing to divide between us.

I wrote news releases and feature stories covering research studies, events, and producer profiles. Recording video and audio for stories was another duty I had. During the summer I would take pictures of black hided cattle that looked to have an Angus background when I drove home to Eureka. I would also take pictures of cattle on my ranch on weekends. This was a way for me to help CAB increase their photos of stocker cattle as they had a limited number on hand before my internship. It also allowed me to build up some more hours and hone my photography skills. I even assisted in editing copy on the CAB Partners website, which served as a precursor to much of the website design and editing I would do in the upcoming months.

Learning was a large part of my experience at CAB. While working with the brand, I improved my interviewing skills from trial and error. On a near daily basis I had to engage in phone call interviews with cow-calf producers, feedlot managers, university researchers, and people involved with beef marketing. Doing these calls over the phone was at first difficult for me as I had not done this much prior to working at CAB. However, most of my interactions with the people I interviewed went really well because I tried to make this conversational. I also conducted some interviews in person and via email. Time management was a large part of the internship as I had many different tasks I had to perform and deadlines to meet. It helped that I was required to keep time sheets detailing what I had done which had to be turned in weekly. I took better pictures as I gained more experience with the camera I was assigned. My images went from standard shots of black hided cattle to those with improved lighting and composition.

This was a great internship for me as it joined many forms of media together. My goal is to be involved in agricultural communications with the beef industry and working with CAB is a major boost for my resume. Because I want to work in the beef industry this was a great way to learn about industry from start to finish. I am currently applying for positions and many are requiring writing samples, so having this internship helped me add to my portfolio while also getting published. I really enjoyed my time with CAB and maybe in the future I can work again with their wonderful organization.