Student Internship Profiles

Click on each profile below to learn about some of the internship experiences that students in CAFES majors have had over the years.

Erin Merritt

Major: Agricultural Studies
Internship Position: Operations Intern
Company: Kemps, LLC

Merritt Erin at Kemps, LLC
With a major in agricultural studies and minors in animal science and food science, I thought working at Kemps would give me the ability to utilize everything I was learning in class. Kemps processes fluid milk products such as milk, heavy whipping cream, half and half, and fruit drinks. I was made aware of this Operations internship through a bulletin board announcement posted near the CAFES Internship Office and I worked with the Food Science professors to help me accelerate in this position. During my internship, I had the opportunity to learn about quality assurance, lab testing, production operations, pasteurization, cooler operations, dispatch/loadout procedures, and raw product intake. 

My special project focused on water savings through the implementation of solenoid valves and timer delays on the water bath systems at the end of every filler. With the help of the maintenance engineer, we were able to save the plant almost 750,000 gallons of water a year, which turned into about a $4,000 cost savings for the plant. The part I enjoyed most was getting to know everyone in the plant and developing relationships with co-workers. This is a very important part of the Food Industry if your goal is to become a Production Supervisor or Manager. I would highly suggest that students interested in interning, start searching for positions in the fall. The bigger companies tend to start looking early for the best interns, and typically those companies provide the best experiences. If you feel like you aren't qualified to work for a particular company, interview anyway. You have nothing to lose! Plus, it is great practice for future interviews.

Senja Melin

Major: Conservation
Internship Position: Biological Student Intern
Company: USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Senja Melin at the USDA
Because of my passion for soil conservation, I knew I was interested in working with NRCS before I applied for an internship. I searched for federal agency job listings on and then applied for student trainee/student intern positions in several different locations including Kansas, Indiana, Washington and New York. 

Getting started with the internship process was very easy. There were many informational meetings explaining what we needed to do before and during our internship experience and the online forms made it easy to complete my weekly reports. The CAFES Internship Office was very helpful when it came to coordinating with the Financial Aid Office, too. I was offered the 12 week summer internship in New York and soon began working directly with the District Conservationist for St. Lawrence County. He made it a point to involve me in every aspect of the NRCS. Every day was new and different, offering a variety of conservation activities. Some days I worked in the office with ArcGIS creating maps, and other days I dealt with private landowners and farmers to implement conservation practices. In addition, I traveled with the Area Biologist to evaluate and mark boundaries of land; tagged along with the Wetland Reserve Program Team to mark the process of wetland restorations; and assisted the Soil Scientist in taking soil samples. 

Being afforded the opportunity to have such a broad array of experiences with the USDA-NRCS allowed me to decide exactly what it was I wanted to do once I finished school. I am confident that my internship experience will help jump start my career with the USDA-NRCS. My advice to students that are seeking internships is not to be afraid to apply to locations farther away from home or school. Branching out will open up a number of opportunities for internships, as well as allow you to experience another part of the state, country or even the world!

Todd Peterson

Major: Agricultural Engineering Technology
Internship Position: Hay and Forage Field Test Intern
Company: Case New Holland (CNH)

Todd Peterson, AGEN, Internship
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to intern for Case New Holland (CNH), in New Holland, Pennsylvania. I have been interested in Agricultural equipment all of my life while growing up with a farm background. After starting school here at UWRF for ag engineering technology, I realized that test engineering was a possibility for a career choice. Many people have asked how I found such a great opportunity and the truth is, I went to the CNH Web site and applied online through the careers page. About a month later, I got a call and went through the interview process. CNH has countless opportunities available for students but without doing some research, I never knew they existed.

My internship lasted from May through December. I was a Hay and Forage Field Test Intern. With the field test group, I was able to test various pieces of hay tools and packaging equipment. By the end of June, I was sent to Hanford, California for six weeks to test a prototype draper header on a new windrower tractor. Then it was back to Pennsylvania to do some testing on new model windrowers. In early October, I flew to Pasco, Washington where I took over testing on a prototype large square baler. I spent two weeks between Southern Washington and Northern Oregon before shipping the equipment to Nebraska, where testing continued. I spent four more weeks in Nebraska until the weather inhibited the baling process. After my travels were complete, I spent the rest of my time with the company in New Holland on further testing of windrowers. My favorite part of the entire experience was traveling to new places and getting to experience the different customs of agriculture throughout the country. My experience with CNH was wonderful and I would highly recommend them as an employer. This opportunity gave me an in-depth look at a world class manufacturer of ag equipment and the process of what happens before the new equipment is released to the public.

If I had one piece of advice for students looking for an internship, I would say that you have to exhaust every possible resource while looking, before you give up. Before I was offered a position at CNH, I spent countless hours calling, emailing, and sending out resumes to different companies in search of a position like the one I found. Students also have to be willing to get out of their comfort zone and go to places they have never been before. When I drove to Pennsylvania for work I had never been east of Chicago before, it was like a completely new world to me. It has opened my eyes and made me realize how much I love living in the Midwest, but I would never know if I hadn’t tried it.

CAFES Internship Office
210 Agricultural Science

Dr. Eric Sanden, Internship Director
Jolene Summers, Internship Project Coordinator