By: Krista Styer, Agricultural Communication & Marketing
This summer, my internship was at the Wisconsin Holstein Association located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I was responsible for many things throughout the summer, such as managing district and state Holstein shows across Wisconsin, writing articles for the Wisconsin Holstein News, attending events with the Wisconsin Holstein Association, and most importantly, planning the 2017 Wisconsin Holstein Association Futurity. There are nine district Holstein shows in Wisconsin, and they all happen within a week and a half time frame. I attended six of them, and the other intern and staff covered the other three. We would typically have one intern and one staff member at each show. For managing the district shows, there was a lot of work that I did prior to the shows. I had to update all of the show materials and forms from the year prior, make copies of all of the information to send to each district show chair, and coordinate showmanship contest details with the Junior Activity Committee chairs. I also had to prepare the list of members who hadn’t paid their yearly Wisconsin Holstein Association dues yet. When we got to the shows, I would help check cattle in, give exhibitors their back tags for showing, answer questions that exhibitors had about the show, help run the show the day of, and take photos during the show. I would also have to update the show catalog with any entry changes the night before the show. I had the opportunity to interview some Wisconsin Holstein members and write articles about them for the Wisconsin Holstein News. One specific event that I attended with the Wisconsin Holstein Association this summer was when we brought a Holstein cow and calf to the local public library in Baraboo. This was for a day at the library where kids could come and learn about dairy animals and agriculture. There were many elements that went into planning the Futurity show, which will be discussed later in the blog post.
Krista smiles proudly outside the Wisconsin Holstein Association during her internship
This summer at my internship I learned a multitude of important things. One of the most memorable things I learned was how to be more assertive in a job position rather than passive. In the beginning of my internship, I often found that I was doubting my abilities and not making decisions when given the chance. Throughout my time in Baraboo at WHA, I learned how to make decisions and stand by them, and how to be more assertive with my opinions and ideas at the office while still remaining kind and respectful. Another key thing that I learned this summer is how to effectively deal with conflict. While at shows collecting late membership fees from Wisconsin Holstein members, members sometimes didn’t want to comply with paying their late fees. At first I found it difficult to approach people and tell them that they had to pay if they wanted to show their cattle the next day, but after a few encounters, I had started to learn a better way to go about a situation such as this. While trying to manage shows and collect late fees, I also found that some people would doubt my abilities because I was “just the intern.” I found myself becoming frustrated when the members wouldn’t trust me because I had already been to multiple shows and knew what my duties were as an intern at that point. I learned that it was best to not get upset at the members who accused me of not knowing what I was doing, and instead show them that I was capable of the task at hand and more. At the end of a show, it was satisfying for me to know that I completed my tasks carefully and accurately even though I was “just the intern.”
One final key thing that I learned this summer was how to live three hours away from home. Having been at college for two years already, you would think that I would know how to be away from home. While this is true, I wasn’t used to being away from home during the summer. During the summer is when I work with my show animals, catch up with my high school friends, and work on my family’s dairy farm. Admittedly, it was difficult for me to be away from a lot of my favorite things for three months. I would come home to visit every so often, but that was very different from getting to work on my family’s farm and work with my dairy show heifers every day. Once I learned how to live away from all of my favorite summer things, life in Baraboo for the summer was great. I lived with a wonderful host family who often showed me around the Baraboo area and let me help out on their family’s dairy farm. I had a great internship that allowed me to do things that I loved every day. Also, I had the opportunity to create a whole new network of contacts all over the state of Wisconsin. After I settled into my new Baraboo lifestyle, I realized that it was just different than what I was used to.
Some of my key experiences this summer at the Wisconsin Holstein Association included taking pictures at shows, planning the Futurity show, bringing a cow and calf to a library, and designing programs and other graphic design elements for the Wisconsin Holstein Association. While at shows, my supervisors let me take charge with the camera and take photos from the beginning to the end. It wasn’t uncommon for me to end up with at least a few hundred photos from each show to post on Facebook. This was such a key experience for me because I absolutely love photography, and my supervisors recognized that and let me work in my preferred area at the shows, as well as getting experience with the other management parts of a district Holstein show. One of my proudest accomplishments of the summer was planning the 31st Annual WHA Futurity show. Over the course of the summer, I contacted caterers, ordered the judge’s tux, coordinated volunteers for the show, found convertibles to use for the grand entrance of the officials at the show, attended Futurity committee meetings, designed the show programs, contacted exhibitors about their entries, contacted sponsors about prize money, and coordinated things on the day of the show . I spent the whole summer planning this event, so when everything went so smoothly on the day of the show, it made all of my hard work worth it. One of the most fun days at work was when we brought a cow and calf to the local library in Baraboo. The morning started out with stories in the library read by the Wisconsin Holstein Royalty. The stories were about agriculture and the dairy industry, and it was great to see so many children show up to learn about agriculture. After the stories were done, the kids got to go outside to see the cow and calf. They were able to pet them and learn more about dairy animals. It was awesome to see children so excited about agriculture. My final key experience from my summer internship experience was the opportunities that I had to design things, such as graphics for Facebook posts or the programs for the Futurity. I really enjoy creating things and using my artistic talents in that way, so I was glad to be able to have the chance to electronically design some things this summer.