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Intern gets a taste of many fields

Learning experience

Submitted photo Intern Andrew Morrow weeding the vegetable garden at the Cooperative Extension office.

By Andrew Morrow

Cooperative Extension

When I first signed up for the NOYCE Grant internship, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I thought that this was going to be the kind of internship where you sat around doing another person’s busywork for a whole summer.

As it turns out, my assumptions were utterly wrong. Throughout my summer internship with Rowan Cooperative Extension, I have participated in and experienced a wide variety of career fields. I learned about the agriculture field through Danélle Cutting, local food and horticulture agent, and Morgan Watts, livestock agent.

With two other interns, I went out and picked rhubarb for a research experiment, dug up and planted an orchard, and attended a few agriculture field days in which I acquired a feel for the industry.

Through Toi Degree, family consumer sciences agent,  I experienced the consumer science field. I helped with her ongoing Lunch and Learn series, an hour-long class each held month. At this program, people pre-register to come during the lunch hour and learn about different types of foods, how to properly prepare them and being healthy.

All of the interns, including me, assisted her with the 4-H Summer Fun Culinary Bootcamp, a one week youth camp focused on learning about table manners, etiquette and proper cooking techniques. Both activities taught me a good deal about teaching methods, preparation and how to create and execute a plan. Overall, I must say working with her was the most enjoyable, due to all the leftover food I got to eat.

The last agent I spent a great deal of time with was Matthew McClellan, 4-H agent. He is over the Rowan 4-H program and organized a series of summer camps for youth, called 4-H Summer Fun. All the interns helped him in planning the Make it and Take it camp. We planned and led it in its entirety, from thinking of the crafts to shopping for supplies. The camp went well and I had a lot of fun teaching the children. Because of the camp, I gained a glimpse of what working with children would be like if I go into the education field.

If I were to take one thing with me that I learned from this internship, it would be how an office space operates and how to succeed in one. I had many visions and ideas on how working in an office would be. By means of this opportunity, I was able to learn and establish a few things during my stay.

First and foremost was the overlap of work. Each agent specializes in his or her own field, but these fields sometimes overlap. All the agents were invested in each other’s work, and often helped each other if possible.

The next thing I figured out was the necessity of keeping a good work environment. Working in an office that is always gloomy will not lead to productive work, and most likely the employees will feel terrible working there. So creating a workspace that is enjoyable is extremely important.

The final thing that I picked up is time management. Each one of the agents seemed to have a million things going on at one time, and in situations like that, time management is key to keep up. Things like calendars, reminders and multitasking will help you to succeed.

Looking back over my time spent with Cooperative Extension, I feel that I have gained a ton of new experiences and knowledge that I will carry on with me into college, my career and life in general. All in all, this has been a very fruitful internship and I am happy that I had the opportunity to experience it.

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