June 11, 2012

Learning through an internship

By Sandra Kavan, NCGA-St. Louis intern

A summer away from home and outside of Nebraska is something that I have never done before, but I have always wanted to experience. Instead of being on the farm, I am about 450 miles from home interning in St. Louis, Missouri at the National Corn Growers Association. This long awaited for experience is living up to every large expectation I have had and proving to be a game changer for when I will enter the work force after college.

Facing the unknown and exploring somewhere new has always been a joy for me, which is exactly what I am doing this summer. I am meeting new people, expanding my networking, getting a hands-on experience with corn away from the farm, and visiting new place in and around St. Louis. Throughout this whole process, I am planning on taking full advantage of my internship and a new city. To be successful I must remember to keep an open mind, listen, and not be afraid to try new things.

I am working on my fifth week of my internship and it has proved to challenge my knowledge and my way of thinking, through all of the different aspects that go on here at NCGA. It has helped me to expand my knowledge on ethanol and biotechnology, whether it is working on different projects or attending ethanol meetings. One of the larger projects that I have been working on is doing research in the biotechnology corn on the length it has taken for a single trait to become nonregulated all the way to the status of stacked traits in our top ten importing nations.

NCGA really wants me to get the most out of my internship, so they are making sure that I broaden my horizons. They have allowed me to go to Chicago for the Ethanol Summit, while also helping me get in contact with some workers from Monsanto for some one-on-one shadow time and also for a tour of their facilities. In July, I will be going to Washington, D.C. for Corn Congress with members of NCGA and farmers from Nebraska.

Besides working, I am exploring St. Louis and the surrounding area thanks to the recommendations and help of employees at NCGA. I have received great recommendations on what I need to see and what there is to do. I have been able to visit a winery, Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, toured Anheuser-Busch, Historical St. Charles, and Six Flags. Next on the list is a visit to the botanical gardens, the St. Louis Zoo, and of course the St. Louis Arch.

This summer is a great way for me to test my footing for the real world and what I am want to pursue for a career after graduation. My internship at NCGA is a definite step in the right direction of where I could picture myself working for a career in agriculture. At times it is hard to believe that it is just a temporary job.

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington

The National Corn Growers Association headquarters office in St. Louis is hosting Sandra Kavan of Wahoo, Neb., as their first summer intern supported by a partnership between the Nebraska Corn Board and NCGA. Sandra will be a senior in agribusiness at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. 

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