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Thurgood Marshall College Fund Interns Gain Real World Experience with USDA

Posted by Melissa Blair, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Aug 15, 2023
Jayme Beasley

This summer 64 students who were selected for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Internship Program gained real world experience at USDA agencies and offices across the United States. The TMCF Internship Program is one of many that enable USDA to recruit a diverse workforce while helping students gain the valuable knowledge and skills needed for employment with one of USDA’s agencies and offices.

The students from the 47 publicly supported historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were selected by one of the following USDA agencies for their 10-week internship: Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights.

The TMCF Internship Program accepts undergraduate students with at least a sophomore standing, as well as graduate and professional students. Applicants must maintain at least a 3.0 G.P.A. along with strong verbal and written communication skills. They must be able to demonstrate initiative and drive in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, mathematics or business. Candidates apply during the fall semester and are selected on a rolling basis for their internships by the USDA agencies based on their interest and major. All students receive a stipend and housing allowance for their internships.

“Internships play a crucial role in shaping one’s career and are stepping stones that allow students to gain a competitive edge when applying to graduate school or entering the workforce,” said Travis Johnson, USDA liaison with Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), which oversees the program. “USDA’s partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund not only allows our students to stand out among other job applicants, but also gives them access to executive mentorship and valuable resources.”

Through this experience, students grow both personally and professionally while developing key leadership skills and getting a chance to apply their college learning to real-world challenges.

“Being in the USDA office and meeting everyone from different divisions allows you to have a better understanding of what the various USDA agencies do,” said Jayme Beasley, a Thurgood Marshall College Fund intern who worked with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. “Having this knowledge also gives you an advantage when applying for jobs on because the internship gives you the experience and language to use in your resume.”

To be notified about future TMCF Internship Program and other student opportunities, sign up to receive OPPE notifications.

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives