Junior in agronomy Erin Stichter spent her summer as a production intern for Wyffels Hybrids.
Erin performed an array of jobs during her internship, beginning in the warehouse backhauling corn. She also worked briefly with field operations early in the season to help plant the seed corn fields. Once the corn was backhauled, Erin spent her work days in field operations. She scouted fields for planting errors as well as other economic risks before detassling began. In the late summer, Erin dedicated the majority of her time to field inspections for quality assurance once detassling crews had went through the fields. Erin added that everyday there was a chance to learn something new.
Erin's favorite part of her internship was being able to work within production agriculture because it is a very critical and complex process that many individuals don't understand. She was fascinated by the amount of time and dedication that goes in to producing seed corn and being a part of the process made her further appreciate and understand the seed industry.
"I think the Agronomy Department at Iowa State University does an outstanding job preparing students for the workforce. Both in the classroom and out, the experience have helped me in the work field. The agronomy classes I have taken provided a strong foundation and have resulted in my ability to pay attention to detail and problem solve when everything in a particular operation or management practice is not being maximized," Erin said. "Such diverse knowledge learned in class leads to well-rounded professionals that can adapt to a great variety of work situations. In addition, I not only possess the knowledge needed in the workforce, but I also possess the professional skills needed when working effectively with coworkers, contractors, and farmers."
Erin also noted that internships offer rich experiences and gains in both knowledge and background. Many skills that agronomists need are acquired on the job, and internships are the most beneficial way to put classroom knowledge into action.
"Internships benefit our future decision making regarding what students would like to do upon graduation; they experience what they enjoy and identify what they might not want to pursue in the future," Erin said. "Internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience, but more importantly are a great opportunity to learn more about your personal strengths and weaknesses."