By Alexis Murillo, U of M Third Year Student
At the beginning of January, I had the opportunity to begin a new experience as a Communications Specialist Intern for the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health (UMASH) Center. Within this internship position, I was responsible for curating content for social media posts, creating and maintaining an editorial calendar, reviewing and summarizing both daily and monthly social media analytics, participating in weekly communication team meetings, and working collaboratively with the outreach and communications team. Although there were other duties I completed during my internship, these tasks seemed to be the most significant to my growth, learning, and position overall.
Although I had previous experience curating content for other organization’s social media platforms, UMASH was different. I taught myself how to properly engage UMASH stakeholders and the general public through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Additionally, I had to determine the best way to expand the online reach and engagement of UMASH through different trial and error methods.
As I reflect upon my experience with UMASH, there were three areas in which I feel as though I have significantly grown: collaboration, communication, and personal development. Essentially, this internship experience allowed me to collaborate with others across the United States, learn how to better communicate with others based on their communication styles, and understand more about what I want for a future career. Furthermore, I was able to take what was taught inside the classroom in courses such as AFEE 1001 and 2421 and apply the learned information to my internship, which was incredibly rewarding. As a result, being a Communications Specialist Intern for UMASH allowed me to enhance my skill set and well as expand it by learning new “tricks of the trade.” Much of the internship was trial and error, but having the support of the UMASH team made it an easier process.
Aside from being able to use my creativity for a new social media post each day, one of the major highlights of my internship experience was being able to network with others at Ag Awareness Day on Northrop Plaza. This experience allowed me speak to many students on the University of Minnesota East Bank campus who were not familiar with UMASH and agriculture in general. During Ag Awareness Day, I explained the mission of UMASH and asked people to fill out a survey to see how much they knew about agricultural health and safety. It was interesting to see how much knowledge everyone had in regards to the survey topic and how intrigued they were with our organization. Another highlight of my internship with UMASH was being able to create content for two major social media campaigns, “Beat the Heat” and “Agritourism.” I took pride in seeing the posts come to life when people would share them on their own social media pages because I knew I played a role in creating the content. For me, those were the most rewarding experiences during my internship with UMASH.