Jenna Cowan, senior in agronomy, was looking forward to being a Digital Technology Manager Intern with WinField United, but her plans quickly changed when COVID-19 began affecting people across the country.
Instead of working directly with retailers to help integrate WinField United agricultural technology tools into their everyday conversations with growers, Jenna's title has transitioned to Agronomy Strategic Projects Intern. Jenna works as a virtual intern as part of the Sales Talent Development and Training division of WinField United.
"Each day I focus on developing online professional training modules and assist in advancing WinField United's go-to-market strategy," said Jenna. "In addition, I participate in meetings to effectively communicate with various employees across WinField United and Land O'Lakes regarding the improvement of agronomy sales and the training it involves."
COVID-19 has affected Jenna by not only changing her position within WinField United, but also has prohibited her from working face-to-face and traveling across the world.
"I originally planned to travel and meet face-to-face with retailers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa regarding agricultural technology tools, but I have transitioned to completely working from home," said Jenna. "While I may not be traveling to meet new people, I am still able to develop connections through a phone call or video meeting. The transition has helped me become more intentional in my networking across the company, as I am now responsible for reaching out and making that initial connection."
Jenna planned to travel toe East-Central Africa in late spring to participate in Iowa State University's Service-Learning Trip as part of the Uganda Program.
"My group planned to work at primary schools creating school gardens, helping and learning from local farmers, and gaining a better understanding of the post-harvest handling and storage techniques in a developing country," said Jenna. "Although the trip was canceled due to the virus, our group was still able to complete the pre-travel preparation portion of the class in hopes of traveling there in the future."
By interning in this unexpected position, Jenna has been able to challenge herself and experience a side of agronomy that she had not previously been exposed to.
"In my past internships, I worked in plots making applications of various products, recording measurements for research, assisting in the management of demonstrations, and communicating directly with growers," said Jenna. "With this virtual experience, I have become more involved behind the scenes of an agronomy team. I'm now encouraged to gain more experience and broaden my perspective on the field of agronomy."