UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Internships

Students

Why participate in an internship?

  • Gain valuable, hands-on, practical career experiences, while earning university credit
  • Blend theory with practice, which enhances the relevance of classroom experiences
  • Build a professional network
  • Individualized learning objectives establish unique experiences to match students' career goals
  • Earn money to support next year's tuition, as most internships are paid work experiences

Eligibility

Students are eligible to participate in the internship program when they meet the following criteria:

  • Completed 30 credits
  • Possess a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA
  • Approval from a Faculty Coordinator
  • Transfer students are eligible upon completion of one full-time semester at UW-River Falls

Earning Credit

Students will earn 2 or 4 credits for enrolling in the internship course. The faculty coordinator assigns a pass/fail grade upon completion of the internship program.

Process for Establishing an Internship

Internship Process

  1. Freshmen through seniors are eligible for internships. Contact the CAFES Internship Office (210 AGS) at any time during your academic career. Internships are for students who are trying to find a career direction, as much as they are for career-focused individuals.
    • Complete an Information and Agreement Form (available in the CAFES Internship Office, 210 AGS)
    • Attend a CAFES Internship Informational Meeting
  2. Identifying internship opportunities:
    • Contact the Faculty Coordinator associated with your area of interest. They are here to discuss your goals and identify internship opportunities that will launch your career, whether they are posted positions or ones they can help you develop.
    • Check the bulletin board outside the CAFES Internship Office (210 AGS) near the Atrium for internship position descriptions. These posted positions are just a sample of the opportunities that are available to you. 
    • If you know of an employer you'd like to do an internship with, contact a Faculty Coordinator or the CAFES Internship Office (210 AGS) to discuss this option.
    • Check the Internship bulletin, printed weekly.
      • Pick up a copy by the Internship Bulletin Board
  3. Discuss with your Academic Adviser where your internship credits will count in your curriculum plan. 
  4. Develop a resume and cover letter. See a faculty member for suggestions; ask for guidelines on resume & cover letter writing. Career Services is a good resource for this important step.
  5. Ask your Faculty Coordinator for application instructions for any internship in which you’re interested. The Internship Office can assist you with many of these as well. 
  6. Submit appropriate application materials via the method the employer prefers: electronically, fax or mail. 
  7. Sign up for interviews! Practice, practice, practice. 
  8. Employer offers you a position!
  9. Attend a CAFES Internship Pre-Work Seminar at the end of Spring Semester to obtain registration materials and forms to use while on your internship.
Internship Project

Congratulations!

You have secured an internship and you're on the job! As part of your experience, you are required to complete a project (to be developed with your Faculty Coordinator and place of employment), which is due upon completion of the internship. The project outcome should be of benefit to the employer in addition to providing an educational opportunity for the student to demonstrate initiative, resourcefulness, and ability to follow through.


Internships are Endless!

Learn about some of the experiences CAFES students have had.

Erin (ag studies major) - Operations Intern at Kemps, LLC

Merritt Erin at Kemps, LLCErin Merritt
Ag Studies Major

Operations Intern
Kemps, LLC, Cedarburg, WI

With a major in Ag Studies and minors in Animal 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 (conservation) - Biological Student Intern at USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Senja Melin at the USDA Senja Melin
Conservation Major 

Biological Student Intern
US Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service
St. Lawrence County, New York

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 USAJOBS.GOV 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!

Katie (ag business major) - Co-op & Agronomy Intern at Land O'Lakes/Winfield Solutions

Katie Radke at Farmers Co-opKatie Radke
Ag Business Major

Co-op & Agronomy Intern
Land O'Lakes/Winfield Solutions:
Farmers Coop. Supply and Shipping, West Salem, WI

I chose this internship because I thought it was a great opportunity to expand my knowledge in the Agronomy field. I have a family friend that works with WinField who told me about the internship. The more I read about the position, the more I liked what it entailed. My internship consisted of working in the fertilizer plant, taking soil and tissue samples, scouting fields, attending Answer Plot Sessions, sales, etc. I really enjoyed working with the growers in particular, and I loved the hands-on-experience. 

I would recommend that CAFES students pursue a summer internship because it opens the doors to so many new and exciting experiences. Start applying early in your college career and try a variety of internships until you find what you like.

Kally (animal science-meat animal major) - Herdsman/Marketing Intern at Boettcher's Brookview Acres

Kally Bockenhauer, Meat Animal InternKally Bockenhauer
Animal Science Major, Meat Animal Emphasis

Herdsman/Marketing Intern
Boettcher's Brookview Acres, Fairchild, WI

While employed by Boettcher’s Brookview Acres of Fairchild, WI I had the opportunity to engage in all aspects of the cattle industry from sales preparation and marketing to equipment and machinery operation and maintenance. Daily herd checks allowed me to practice my cattle handling and management skills. I was also given the responsibility of developing an Owner’s Manual for future customers. The Owner’s Manual included an annual herd health calendar, basic cattle biology, feeding and nutrition programs, as well as a show preparation guide.

Being involved in the Genetic Selection Sale, Breeders Choice Sale, and Farm Technology Days allowed me to work closely with partner producers and potential clients. Overall, my internship was exceptional at expanding my knowledge of the agricultural industry, developing my communication skills, and helping me establish life-long friendships with others in the cattle industry.

Todd (ag engineering technology major) - Hay and Forage Field Test Intern at Case New Holland

Todd Peterson, AGEN, InternshipTodd Peterson
Agricultural Engineering Technology Major

Hay and Forage Field Test Intern
Case New Holland (CNH)
New Holland, Pennsylvania

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
cafes.intern@uwrf.edu
715-425-3368

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


Did you know?

  • More than 90% of 2016 interns agreed or strongly agreed that their internship taught them new methods or procedures, increased their confidence in their professional abilities, increased their ability to handle responsibility and exposed them to new applied knowledge in their field.
  • Approximately 50% of 2016 interns expect a job offer to result from their internship experience.