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Knowledge and Passion: A Student Intern's Perspective

I’m not sure that there are many 1890 National Scholar interns who are “ambassadors” of their university and who are planning a career in farming. But then, I never considered myself an average student. My experience during my undergraduate years perhaps is not typical. Not only was I a USDA 1890 National Scholar, but I also served as the “queen” of my university all while maintaining a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.

Though I never envisioned myself at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, my undergraduate experience has taught me that it doesn’t matter where you attend school. What matters is how hard you work, getting an education and taking advantage of opportunities. The most important opportunities that I made sure I’d take advantage of as an undergraduate student were internships, which I believe are imperative for students to undertake prior to graduating.

Reducing Food Waste is Child's Play

The famous Julia Child once said “people who love to eat are always the best people,” but what would Julia say about eaters who waste food? In the United States, consumers discard about 20 percent of all food purchased. That adds up to approximately 90 billion pounds of food each year, costing each person $370 annually. For a family of four, that’s nearly $1,500.

While it may seem daunting, there are many simple ways to reduce food waste right at home. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your groceries:

Farmers Do a Lot More than Just Drive Tractors

This summer we were given the opportunity to intern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and throughout our experiences we have learned a lot about the agricultural industry and rural America. Today, agriculture plays a huge role in driving the rural economy and the American economy at large, but we realized it is also important to know how far we have come and what it took for us to get here. To get a better understanding, we took a field trip across the National Mall to Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of American History American Enterprise exhibit, which launched on July 1st. We were excited to learn more about the role the USDA plays in people’s lives and the immense amount of history we are a part of.

The exhibit encompassed the history of American businesses from corporate companies to small farms and everything in between. We were pleased to see how much the exhibit focused on the journey of American agriculture, from the mid-1700s to present day.  We were able to interact with pieces of history that represented major successes as well as the setbacks that agriculture faced as we proceeded through a life-sized timeline of videos, pictures, historical trivia, and games.

Industry Research and Promotion Programs Prepare Next Generation of Ag Leaders

As recent studies indicate agriculture is one of the best fields for college graduates, it is imperative for the industry to groom the next generation of leaders. All of us here at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) would like to highlight the efforts of a couple industry Research and Promotion Programs for encouraging young students to choose agricultural careers.

The Pork Checkoff and the US Pork Center of Excellence worked together to develop Swine Science Online (SSO) courses that teach students scientific principles and management skills to best prepare them for careers in the swine industry.

Taking the Summer On: AMS Interns Gain Valuable Experience

Without farmers and the agricultural businesses that support them, no one can eat. This is a simple concept, but it implies that people will continue to choose careers in agriculture. Here at USDA, one of the ways that we encourage younger generations to choose these careers is offering grants to institutions that offer agricultural curriculums. 

Through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA enables students to expand their knowledge of the agricultural industry. NIFA provides grants to schools such as the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) through the Hispanic Serving Institutions Program. This allows these institutions to offer top-notch agricultural curriculums.

USDA and Forest Service Leadership Recognize Diverse Central California Consortium Interns

The Central California Consortium (CCC) celebrated the completion of its intern program at the 16th Annual Intern Awards Ceremony. CCC partner, Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART), hosted the event on August 9, 2012 in Clovis, CA. The CCC was honored to host USDA and Forest Service leadership, as well as over 125 guests comprised of Forest Service staff, community partners, and family members.

"We Can't Wait" to Intern

Those who know me well know that I am an overzealous networker. I began my USDA experience in summer 2010 as a legislative and public affairs intern in the Rural Development mission area of USDA. While there, I was able to write press releases and blogs that were featured on the USDA website, attend agency hearings on the Hill, and make connections with a lot of great people.

My internship opportunities have allowed me to gain valuable work experience, ultimately leading to my current role in USDA’s Office of Communications.

My Experience as an Intern with the SC NRCS Dillon Office

Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe the way I felt on the first day of my internship with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. There was so much to learn—program acronyms, database information, how to do a field check…But I was told by my co-workers that I would learn fast.

And two and a half months and one bottle of Tylenol later, I realized that they were right. I was catching on. Slowly.

USDA Summer Intern Reflects on Experience

Amy Sents spent the summer as an intern in the White House Liaison Office at USDA; she is currently a junior at Kansas State University.

When mapping out my plans for this summer, Washington D.C. was about the furthest from my mind, that is until I read an e-mail in early May from one of the assistant deans at my school. I had just completed a preliminary application process for a scholarship and was told by the committee that I needed a strong government experience in order to remain competitive. Less than a week later I received the e-mail announcing summer internships with USDA in Washington, D.C. With my ag background and interest in future employment with the department, this was the perfect opportunity. About three weeks later I interviewed with the White House Liaison Office, unaware until that point that such an office even existed in USDA.

Intern gives perspective on work, meeting with Secretary Vilsack

Amy Sents, a junior Animal Science major at Kansas State University, spent the summer as a USDA intern working in the Office of the White House Liaison. She joined about 100 other interns from around the country, as well as young people from Washington working with the D.C. Summer Youth Employment Program. Everyone had the opportunity last Friday to meet with Secretary Vilsack; Amy shares her experience this morning: