By Brandon Roiger, University of Minnesota Junior
I had a really great summer and part of the school year with two different internships, one paid and the other volunteer. As a volunteer intern with the Minnesota FFA Association, my official title was with leadership development and public relations. Some of the tasks I completed was developing leadership curriculum, assisting with social media development, writing press releases, chaperoning leadership conferences and providing feedback to state officers throughout them, making graphics for use and facilitating leadership conferences as well. I also got to help at the Minnesota State Fair as a barnyard manager for the FFA Chapter House and Leadership Center as well as the CHS Miracle of Birth Center.
As the government relations intern with Minnesota Farmers Union, I was able to attend legislative and coalition meetings as a representative of Minnesota Farmers Union and take detailed minutes of the meetings. I also helped in the creation of press releases, social media and our monthly e-newsletter. I did a lot more graphic design than I did with FFA, and I was also very involved with some of the events we went to including Farm Fest and state fair where I volunteered at our booth and helped educate the public about what Minnesota Farmers Union is.
One of the best skills I gained while working with both internships was in graphic design. I have not had a ton of experience in the area, and I was able to create some things for distribution for both organizations. Although I still wouldn’t say I am an expert by any means (or even proficient to be quite honest), I am definitely better than what I once was and am still continuing to learn about design elements by simply “doing.” I also don’t think I have ever better managed my time than I did this summer. I had something going on literally almost every minute of the day, and there wasn’t a whole lot of time to stop and relax. I really enjoyed it, though. Balancing two internships might be difficult for a lot of people, but it was a lot of fun for me especially when they interacted together. For example, I was asked to design and donate banners from Minnesota Farmers Union for ag teachers who had won awards at the annual Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators Summer Conference.
The highlight of my summer was definitely chaperoning the summer leadership conferences for FFA. I was able to interact with a lot of people, and I think that one of my best skillsets lies in relationship building. I was able to provide feedback and support state officers as they facilitated the leadership conferences, but I was also able to interact with high school students as they grew their own skillsets throughout the duration of each leadership conference. It was also an opportunity for me to interact with a new audience I hadn’t previously connected with a whole lot before — high school agriculture instructors. Because I was a chaperone, I was with a lot of high school teachers who were also chaperoning during most of the conference. That was an entirely different experience all on its own!
Both internships were very helpful in guiding my summer.
I am pictured (on the far left) with another government relations intern at the Minnesota State Fair. She and I got to work a couple of shifts together at our building at the state fair, and we took a picture with Hanson and Hoyt, who was our favorite band to play at the Minnesota Farmers Union building during the fair.