By Emma Kehrli, communications and external relations intern, intern@cultivationcorridor.org

From small towns to Des Moines, agribusiness leaders across Iowa are educating and empowering the future innovators of the world. The ag industry offers diverse internship programs across fields such as animal and plant sciences, advanced manufacturing, bioscience and predictive ag. In fact, Iowa State University hosts the largest College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Career fair, with 277 organizations in attendance last fall sharing internships and career opportunities with students. This industry sees and values the importance of giving the next generation real-world experience in this innovative and entrepreneurial arena.

America’s Cultivation Corridor is where science feeds the world. When I started interning for the Corridor this past May, I didn’t fully understand the weight behind that statement. The opportunity to work here has not only opened my eyes to the cutting-edge innovation happening right in our backyard, but it has also given me the tools necessary to build on the skills I learned in the classroom.

My role at the Corridor includes maintaining social media, managing events and assisting with board meeting preparation. This internship provides incredible resources for me to learn from and responsibility for me to build on. For BIO World Congress, I wrote a social media plan around the events and entrepreneurs at the conference. My internship allowed me to see this project from start to finish as I was fortunate enough to attend the conference — meeting the faces and organizations behind the 280 characters and helping tell their stories.

In settings like this conference, I am given opportunities to cultivate relationships. With my internship being located in Ames, I’ve been able to participate in the Ames Chamber of Commerce summer internship program which is dedicated to networking opportunities for interns as well as introducing them to the community and area business leaders. Other areas including Des Moines offer similar programs as this is a crucial skill that is applicable in all internships and jobs.

The skills I am learning in this role directly apply to my future goals in the ag industry. I am currently double majoring in Agricultural Business and Public Relations with future plans of working in public relations for an ag company. This internship has enabled me to improve my written and oral communication, social media savviness, relationship building skills and ability to conduct research. These are all beneficial strengths that I will utilize throughout my next two years of school and in my job after graduation.

I’m extremely proud to live in Iowa and to be a part of the Cultivation Corridor. I’m thankful for our Executive Director’s passion and to all who take the time and effort to enable and empower the next generation of innovators.