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Meet Cristal Castillo, a 2023 USDA HEP/CAMP Intern

Posted by Marquita Bady, Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement in Equity Initiatives
Sep 15, 2023

Meet Cristal Castillo, a native of Pingree, Idaho who attends Idaho State University majoring in marketing. Cristal is one of eight students selected for an internship with USDA’s 2023 High School Equivalency Program (HEP)/College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP).

USDA HEP/CAMP Program recipient, Cristal Castillo

The United States Department of Agriculture runs this program in partnership with the National HEP/CAMP Association. This summer, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) hosted students from migrant and farmworker backgrounds in paid, 10-week internships. The experience was designed to help students from migrant farmworker backgrounds gain work experience and learn about career opportunities with USDA.

Cristal’s drive to be a part of a group of like-minded Latino students helped fuel her interest in the program.

She enthusiastically traveled to Washington D.C. to intern as a marketing recruiter with FSA. For 10 weeks she was been able to research and observe recent trends in the workforce and explore new recruitment strategies. Cristal recommended social media designed to speak to the values of millennials and Generation Z and generate engagement and connections. She also developed merchandise pieces tailored to fit Generation Z trends, such as tote bags and water bottle stickers. This motivating experience helped mold her future career goals, which include a permanent position in market research.
“For my last two years of college, I plan on taking all the valuable skills that I learned from my experience here in D.C., such as the importance of keeping in contact with the people you meet along the way and utilizing these skills in my future life and career,” said Cristal. “My confidence has also strengthened during my time here.”

“Through thoughtful research and innovative thinking, Cristal played a pivotal role in examining recruitment strategies for Gen Z over the summer for FSA,” said Cristal’s FSA Supervisor Kara Bays. “Her actionable recommendations are already being incorporated into FSA’s efforts to attract and engage the next generation of talent. Cristal used her marketing major and prior experience to offer a unique perspective and showed an eagerness to experience many difference aspects of USDA while interning at FSA.”

Learn more about the HEP/CAMP internship program by emailing or sign up to receive updates on this and other USDA resources, grants and programs for rural and underserved communities, students, farmers, veterans, community nonprofits and higher education institutions.

Category/Topic: Equity Initiatives