Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom – Jena Ernsting

Agriculture and children, a combination I never imagined myself being so invested in. Since starting work at the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) in September 2014, I have grown even more invested in implementing agriculture in the classroom. I was notified of this job position through K-State Career and Employment Services.

KFAC is a non-profit with a mission of “Connecting classrooms to Kansas agriculture.” KFAC provides materials and lesson plans to Kansas teachers, as well as providing educational institutes and credit opportunities for Kansas teachers.

My official job title is correspondence and database manager; however, as I grew to know my position my responsibilities and duties grew with me. What started as imputing donations into the donor database developed into helping create and develop donation campaigns.

From there I was recruited to develop and design brochures, graphics, posters and additional materials. My writing skills were put to use with writing some news releases and a feature article on a Kansas teacher who was using agriculture in their classroom.

I was also recruited to be the face of KFAC during an AGam in Kansas segment focusing on a Kansas teacher that was integrating agriculture in her classroom exceptionally.

Throughout my year and a half at KFAC I realized that accidents happen and mistakes are made. The most important part of any written piece is to check it over and then check it over again. I have also learned that it’s okay to not know how to do something and the time taken to learn something new is valuable in itself.

I have been lucky enough to see where KFAC has been and where it is going. This job has helped me grow into a more professional and allowed me to see how a non-profit works.

Each year KFAC hosts a bookmark art competition for kindergarten to sixth grade students. I love seeing the creativity of the students and gaining an understanding of how young people see agriculture in their everyday lives. This position also allows me to work from my personal computer on design projects, which provides me the opportunity to help create my own schedule.

On the opposite side of things, I have found that although I have found a niche for writing letters asking people for money, that side of a non-profit is not necessarily my favorite.

I believe this internship has provided me a variety of experiences that are applicable in whatever area of communications I end up in. Understanding how to communicate and help distribute information to stakeholders will be valuable wherever I end up.

 

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.

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.

United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development – Jacob Pletcher

I interned with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development May 18 through September 30, 2015. Luckily the USDA RD is very flexible with their Pathway Interns, so I had the opportunity to continue my internship during the first month and a half of school.

I learned about this internship through my wonderful mother who works on the business and industry side of USDA RD. The internship fit extremely well into what I wanted to do during the summer and it was geared mostly towards writing rather than design, which is what I was looking for. Another appealing part of the internship was the location: Topeka, Kansas. With the internship being located in Topeka, I was able to commute back and forth from my hometown with both of my parents, which was a blessing and a curse.

During the internship I was able to hone my writing skills with the help of a very understanding supervisor that was willing to give me thorough feedback. I did not know how to write a press release or how to send out a newsletter. However, with the help of my supervisor, I was able to learn and develop vital skills that a communicator needs.

A typical day at the office for me started around 7:30 a.m. where I would mostly write press releases, create inner office and statewide newsletters, design invitations for upcoming USDA workshops, and work on the Kansas USDA RD page. Office interaction was limited, but when the office was able to get together, we had a fun time. All four of the interns planned a social interaction event where we cooked food and played a life-size game of clue. This was a great way to interact with people in the office that I never had a chance to intermingle with.

My favorite part of my internship would definitely have to be the trips I made to grant/loan recipient sites to do success stories. All of the businesses or individuals that receive grants or loans were so grateful for the financing that they received and they opened their doors to pictures and my questions without hesitation. The personal interaction with these people made it easy to write about and highlight their operations.

I would recommend this internship to anyone who is wanting a communications experience that has more writing than design opportunities. I do not know if this internship will be available again next year. Since USDA RD is a federal agency, this internship heavily depends on the budget for the fiscal year. If you are curious about the availability of an internship with USDA RD, please contact Jessica Bowser at 785-271-2701 or Jessica.Bowser@ks.usda.gov.

The Nutrients for Life Foundation – Emily Velisek

Everyone at school thought it was awesome that I would be working in D.C. all summer, but for me it was almost what made me not want to take this internship.

This summer I was lucky enough to work for The Nutrients for Life Foundation (NFL). This is a not-for-profit organization that is within The Fertilizer Institute, which is the lobbyist group for fertilizer.

Since I lived in Maryland my whole life, D.C. was not as exciting to me as other students thought when I told them that is where I would be working for my summer.

I guess I did not realize how long it had actually been since I had made the trip down to D.C.. The first few weeks were great because I had the chance to go walk around during my lunch and remember so much from when I was a kid! By the end though I definitely remembered why I did not enjoy D.C.. A lot of it had to do with the commute, but also with how crowed it gets during the summer.

Anyways, once I realized that, I spent more time in the office. I started my internship on May 18th and ended on August 14th. Those 14 weeks flew by and before I knew it, my summer was over.

I could not be more grateful for this internship and lucky that my neighbor helped me get it. I learned a lot about fertilizer and soil, which is a different side of agriculture than what I am used to. I grew up on an Angus cattle farm and showed cattle all my life, so getting to see a different area of agriculture was great for me and I found it very interesting.

I started my internship off by getting asked if I support fertilizer. Not a typical question you get in an interview for a summer internship but I was happy to answer. I am lucky enough to have family that farms about 4,500 acres and have two uncles that work at one of the largest fertilizer companies in Maryland. So my answer was pretty easy: “Yes, I support fertilizer.”

From there I got a project assigned to me for the International Year of Soils, which just happened to be 2015! I started out by doing a lot of research on soil and learning as much as I could. After that I got to work, starting with writing an article for NFL’s Fall 2015 magazine. Once I finished that, I sent it to two of my superiors to edit. While they were editing that I started to work on a blog post and then a blurb for their newsletter. From that I went on to two of the harder parts of my project, making a Facebook cover photo and a video. The cover photo did not seem to take me too long but the video was a challenge. I got the video finished but it did not turn out exactly how I would have liked it.

Some of my other responsibilities were to clean out the database, which may have been the worst thing ever but I know it really helped them. I also did a few things in Excel for people that work at The Fertilizer Institute, which was nice since I knew how to use Excel and could get those done relatively fast.

Kansas Department of Agriculture – Audrey Green

Why is there so much construction north of the Kansas State University Campus? What could that new, huge building possibly be? The Kansas Department of Agriculture has relocated to Manhattan, providing new opportunities for Kansas agriculturalists and Kansas State University students.

Spending my time in the innovative new building, the fall and spring semesters of my sophomore year I served as a Kansas Department of Agriculture Communications Intern. This internship came to me by way of Dr. Ellis, an Agriculture Communications professor at Kansas State University. After exhibiting interest in the position and receiving an interview, I began my internship at the beginning of September 2014.

“Back to the basics.” The foundation of this internship was to take the basic skills of communications and polish them. I began writing press releases almost immediately and was given feedback to improve my writing skills. Arriving at KDA, I had very limited knowledge of design software. Now, my design repertoire has grown immensely and I feel comfortable in the Adobe Creative Suite applications.

Playing a key role in the organization of Kansas Agriculture Month was by far my favorite part of this internship. A goal I had set for myself before coming to KDA was to network with as many Agriculture Communicators as possible. Meeting with the Agriculture Communicators and Educators group to plan Kansas Agriculture Month fulfilled that goal. With only a few planning meetings, the diverse group was able to advocate for agriculture throughout the month of March. Some of the highlights included: hosting the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Drive at Dillon’s stores, delivering cookies with customized agriculture statistics to members of the Kansas Legislature, conducting a photography workshop for Kansas agriculture photographers with National Geographic Photographer Jim Richardson and an evening lecture with Jim Richardson that was followed by an in depth agriculture panel.

Planning Kansas Agriculture Month was an eye opening experience. I was able to step into the shoes of an Agriculture Communicator in the real world. Learning responsibility, time management and effective communication, this event helped prepare me a future after graduation.

If I had to choose a least favorite part of my internship at KDA, I would have to rack my brain. Each and every day was filled with new twists and turns, giving a glimpse of what a communications specialist would do. The days I was not as busy, or did not have as many projects to work on, were my least favorite days. In saying that, sometimes a break is nothing to complain about!

Students can be selected for this internship, or other internships at KDA, by applying through the Governor’s Office Internship Program. The program is designed to give high-quality college students real world experience. A link to the program can be found here: https://governor.ks.gov/serving-kansans/internship.

Who would I recommend this internship to? Any student who is passionate about agriculture, driven and willing to put in hard work would be an excellent fit for this position.

KDA has a professional yet fun working environment, and its location is superb for Kansas State University students. Although avoiding the road construction on Manhattan Avenue can be a pain, the valuable experience I received from this internship made the bright orange cones seem much less troublesome.

Certified Angus Beef- Nicole Lane

Nicole Lane- CAB pic

Honestly, I almost said no.

I came this close to turning the Industry Information Internship with Certified Angus Beef down. I thought there just might be something bigger and better out there when I hesitantly accepted the position as a sophomore last December.

 

I’m so thankful that I said yes because I couldn’t have asked for a better summer internship. I spent my summer writing about cattle producers who raise the best beef on the market. I got to tell the story of incredible agriculturalists. I expanded my writing skills by learning to write lengthy feature stories then tell the same story in blog and video form. I wrote a lot and absolutely loved it.

 

I learned to appreciate my days in the office and love the days out on the ranch. One of my most memorable adventures included a several day road trip with one of my supervisors visiting beef producers from Kansas all the way to Wyoming.

 

My summer at CAB (from about May-August) was spent not only becoming a better writer, but learning about the cattle industry. I went from a girl who didn’t know the difference between a stocker and a cow-calf operation to being able to read and write about beef research articles (Do you know what the Warner-Bratzler Shear Force Procedure is? Because I definitely didn’t!).

 

After meeting Steve Suther (my boss) when he came to speak to ACT last year, I decided to apply for the internship. Over a year later I’m still taking writing assignments from him as a freelancer.

 

Working for CAB is an experience I would recommend to anyone who can write and wants to become a better writer. If you don’t like to write, scratch that, don’t love to write, then it’s not for you. Truly, the hardest part of this internship for me was just simply battling writers block. Well that and learning the cattle industry.

 

However, it was all worth it getting to see my byline and story on the glossy pages of the Angus Journal. Even more so, getting to meet the people at American Angus who work daily on the media productions I got to create content for was an experience in itself. As a CAB intern I got a backstage pass to see the inter workings of the Angus Journal and the Angus Report both of which my work appeared in.

 

Above all, what made my experience at CAB so incredible was the people I got to work with. Though most of our communication was digital or by phone, the CAB’s company culture was (and still is) something that is fun to be a part of. Getting to work on a team that challenges each other, truly enjoys what they get to do and are very passionate about beef was an incredible experience.

 

This internship solidified my love for writing about agriculture and expanded my animal science knowledge. It was the perfect example of a career that I would like to pursue someday. So much so that when my internship ended, my work with CAB didn’t. I’m lucky to still be writing for the brand and learning that someday I hope to make work like this a full time gig.

 

Think this sounds like something you would like to be a part of? Check out CAB’s website or click this link to learn more http://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/recruiting/Description.aspx?id=168&utm_source=Other&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=intern