Ag Lit Bit by Diane Merrion
Where are they now?
It’s the start of a new year which brings new opportunities to make those resolutions/goals you set forth on January 1st come to fruition. We are excited to start 2017 with many scheduled visits to schools with one of our three program offerings from Ag in the Classroom and we’re lining up a summer filled with new programs and one lucky new intern. Ag in the Classroom spends a good deal of time in classrooms (no surprise there) teaching students about agriculture as it relates to the farm to table concept. We also spend a lot of time talking with students about career choices and the vast opportunities in our field. While they may not know what they want to be when they are in 4th grade, 7th grade or high school, we are there to educate them on the possibilities that exist in agriculture. There is no better way to determine a career choice than to get some actual experience, which is what we provide to our summer interns. To put it into perspective I thought it would be beneficial to chronical the career and educational path of a few of our past interns to see where they are now following their summer experience provided by the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation. Here is what they had to say:
“Upon graduation from Oklahoma State University with a double major in Animal Science and Agricultural Education in May 2016 I moved to Maysville, Georgia. I am currently a middle school Agricultural Education teacher at Carver Middle School in Walton County. I truly enjoy educating young children on the importance of agriculture”, stated Nicole Zeien (2015 intern).
“I am working for Charleston|Orwig, which is a full-service agency based out of Heartland, WI. I’m a Jr. Account Executive and assist on numerous accounts ranging from traditional ag to food service. A couple of my favorite accounts I work on are Kerry Foods (different brands from Fit Frappe to Golden Dipt) and Illinois Soybean Association. C|O is an awesome company to work for. I can bring my dog to work on Friday’s and we’re always celebrating someone or something with a party”, explained Kendall Herren (2014 intern).
“I am currently a graduate student working with the Cook County Extension 4H team. I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Leadership Education and I'm currently pursuing a Masters in Agricultural Education. My overall goal is to be able to work with kids and educate them about ag”, shared Jessica Biernacki (Library Service Project Coordinator Volunteer 2015)
“After spending the summer at CCFB, I came back to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign motivated and excited to take my new knowledge and apply it to my last year as an undergrad. With the new enthusiasm, I found an awesome opportunity to work at the Meat Science lab on campus. At the meat science lab, I get to assist in the harvest of livestock and learn about the different ways to cut, process, and sell meat. Literally seeing the farm to fork lifestyle, showed me new opportunities. After graduation, I will start working a full time position for Smithfield as an Operations Trainee. As an Operations Trainee I will work on aspects such as maximizing yields, product quality, safety, and customer satisfaction,” replied Karina Barrios (2016 intern).
Our thanks to the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation for funding our summer internship program. As is apparent, the opportunity impacts the lives of many. It’s good to see “where they are now” and realize the impact these young professionals are having on the farming and non-farming population.