Students Participate in Summer Internships

August 25, 2022

College of Agriculture students spent their summer gaining hands-on experience through internships each year. Students in every major and year participate in internships in Louisiana and across the country.

In spring 2022, nearly 40% of College of Agriculture graduates reported completing an internship. These invaluable experiences help students build their resumes and prepare for their future careers.

Mary Katherine Piel, a rising senior in agricultural and extension education, spent the summer interning with Ducks Unlimited in Brookings, South Dakota.

"As an agronomy technician intern, I work with private landowners to conduct nest surveys, soil sampling, crop scouting, and much more," said Piel. "I have enjoyed learning about life on the prairies and highlighting soil health, livestock integration, and cover crops."

Piel served as an agronomy technician working with private landowners. In this role, she would assist soil health technicians with nest surveys, soil sampling, and crop scouting.

"I have been learning about life on the prairies and highlighting soil health, livestock integration, and cover crops," said Piel.

Not every day was easy for soil health technicians in South Dakota. Piel said there were days they braved the triple-digit temps and 37 mph winds to run soil health tests.

"We learned how to run infiltration tests, earthworm counts, soil moisture monitoring, and penetration PSI," said Piel. "This helps the Ducks Unlimited agronomy team build a baseline of information to see how the soil is improving and what other practices we can implement to become more regenerative."


Mary KAtherine neils next to dog

– Photo provided by Mary Katherine Piel

Ashlyn Beaty, a rising senior in agricultural business, spent the summer in Omaha, NE, working with Union Pacific as a marketing and sales intern.

As an intern, Ashlyn is responsible for communicating local service changes to customers across the country and tracking the data to provide service metrics to leadership.

She also analyzes economic data, guides marketing managers based on profitability models and the status of the network, and assists in planning business development training for the marketing and sales team.

"My favorite thing about my internship with Union Pacific is getting to be an integral part of the supply chain," said Beaty. "I love interacting with people from all across the nation and knowing that I am playing a small role in the transportation network that is running our country.

Ashley Beaty smiles

– Photo provided by Ashlyn Beaty

Javen Little, a senior studying plant and soil systems, interned at Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. The popular destination is the former home of President Thomas Jefferson.

Little was a rotating garden and would rotate every two weeks between the ornamental garden on the Winding Walk and the vegetable garden located on the south terrace.

He was also a part of a team project that focused on identifying and implementing a control plan for invasive plant species located within the surrounding mountain terrain.

Javen Little pushes down shovel

– Photo provided by Javen Little

Zoe Paternostro, a senior studying plant and soil systems, spent the summer as an intern at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in Cheyenne, WY.

"My internship has allowed me to gain experience in all the different departments at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens," said Paternostro.

Working in the Children's Village has been one of the highlights for Paternostro.

"The atmosphere is very playful, and it is really sweet to see the entire family experience the gardens and interact with the many free educational classes offered," she said. "Arts and crafts are a staple, but science lessons are often incorporated. I had the opportunity to teach a 'how to' course on upcycling an old 2-liter soda bottle into a mini hydroponics system."

Zoe Paternostro in green house

– Photo provided by Zoe Paternostro