You’ve made it through security. Your bags are checked, your backpack rests on your shoulders as you wait in the Starbucks line and realization of what you’re doing slowly sets in. For the first time, you are traveling to an international destination alone; for a nearly three month stay. It isn’t your first time flying alone though. Two summers earlier you had your first true solo flight to Washington D.C. for the Animal Agriculture Alliance internship.
Where Have I Been Since Summer ’17…
It’s been almost two years since I anxiously navigated the DC Metro to find an office in Arlington, Virginia. I am now in my final semester at Purdue University. In the time in between, I’ve found myself continuing to connect myself and others to the agriculture industry through social media and other positions. I have served as a Marketing Ambassador for the 2019 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention and explored auction houses in small Welsh towns.
All of the experiences following my summer with the Alliance have brought back memories of being there with the team. In college classes, supply chain management conversations remind me of my project researching animal welfare policy updates for restaurant and food service organizations. That spreadsheet helped me answer my professor’s question, “which food place kick-started a revolution in the chicken supply chain standards?” It’s McDonald’s, by the way. While sitting in an animal bioethics class at Aberystwyth University, the mention of Temple Grandin sparked joy at the memory of an unexpected chance to meet her while attending the American Society of Animal Science Conference to work the Alliance booth.
Outside of the Classroom…
All of these experiences have been helpful in the classroom and as a young professional, but my time as a summer intern served as something more for me. The three months I had in the Washington D.C. area helped me prepare for a lifetime of opportunity; it was like I had a small practice run to see what it’d be like to temporarily live somewhere new. It gave me the final push to admit I could actually do a semester of undergrad in a different country.
My internship with the Alliance gave me confidence as a communicator, a traveler and a young professional. It was only my sophomore year, but I knew the unique opportunity to relocate for an internship would help me be more courageous to seek more options after graduation. I’m still not sure where my Agricultural Communication degree will take me, but I know I have the connections and fortune of going far and wide while bragging about the first time I took a leap of faith at an offer I never anticipated receiving.
Even though there are times I miss roaming the streets of Arlington or Aberystwyth, I know every amazing life experience will help carry me as I close the chapter of being a student and enter the industry as a young professional.
All posts are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of the Animal Ag Alliance.