Coursework, extracurricular activities and campus involvement are all part of an excellent college education, but employers are often most impressed with something else that may be hard for students to come by: work experience. Many ag industry employers, like Baraboo-based Accelerated Genetics, give students hands-on experience with summer internships.
“We understand there are many students who are interested in agriculture who have never had the opportunity to experience the artificial insemination industry,” says Kari Stanek, industry relations coordinator at Accelerated Genetics, a livestock genetic improvement source that provides breeding services and genetic material. “For many years, the agriculture industry has embraced internships as a way to grow skills of youth with farm backgrounds, and also to bring new people into the industry who maybe didn’t grow up on a farm or have prior experience.”
Accelerated Genetics has offered internships for more than 30 years. Each summer, 6 to 10 interns join, and the company hires many after graduation.
“It’s been really good for us and the students,” Stanek says. “Our interns turn into great employees.”
Jori Campbell, an agriculture business major at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College in Fennimore, interned in summer 2015. Although Campbell had worked on a farm for 10 years prior to her internship, the nature of her summer job – artificially inseminating cows all over the region – was originally a terrifying prospect. The internship helped her gain valuable job experience, as well as important life lessons. “It made me much more well- rounded,” she says. “I was shy and unsure of whether I could handle it.
But by the end of the summer, I came out of my shell and was comfortable making decisions. I learned to buckle down and take it one day at a time.”