The experiences where you grow the most in character and skill constantly push you to test your knowledge and surpass your limits. I accepted the offer to be the NASDA Communications intern while working part-time as a graduate research and teaching assistant at the University of Arkansas and completing a full semester of courses. I knew the internship would challenge me and put my time management skills to the test, but I was not able to anticipate just how rewarding, encouraging and empowering this internship would be for me.

With the 2022 Winter Policy Conference quickly approaching when I joined the team, there was a lot to do and learn from the start. I took a graphic design course during my undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University and served as the teaching assistant for a similar course at the University of Arkansas, but I honed my skills as a communications intern. I created content for the social media platforms, re-vamped NASDA’s ‘About Us’ brochure and, my personal favorite, designed the nametags and other materials for the Winter Policy Conference. Seeing the nametags, slides, and other design projects in person made the pressure of quick deadlines worth it. I love the creative process of finding the best way to communicate through design. I now have full confidence in my design abilities and knowledge of Adobe software thanks to these opportunities.

The NASDA staff are incredibly attentive to what their interns are passionate about and hope to learn. I love learning new skills and wanted to gain experience in as many areas as possible. They regularly approached me with different projects to work on and I loved saying yes. Because of their attentiveness to my goals, I wrote a press release, learned how to analyze social media data and edited the NASDA panel video for the National Ag Day Virtual Celebration.

I am especially thankful for all of the new skills I learned that will help me in my future career. Before my time with NASDA, I had never used MailChimp to create email campaigns, worked in the backend of a website or tracked press mentions. Now, I can confidently create email campaigns, edit and create website content, and analyze press mentions. My progress, both in work quality and personal confidence, and my love for communicating agriculture to the public grew throughout my time on the communications team.

I described my time with NASDA as encouraging, empowering and rewarding. The NASDA staff, members, and everyone I crossed paths with was welcoming, encouraging and always looking for ways for me to gain new experiences. I am leaving this internship empowered with confidence in the skills I learned and a heightened passion for agriculture and everyone within the industry. The combination of connections made and skills gained made my time with NASDA incredibly rewarding and I am thankful they chose me out of many worthy applicants.

Balancing my internship, assistantship and school was a challenge. My time management skills were pushed to their limits and there were many late nights and busy days, but the people made the whole experience worth it. I will miss seeing everyone at meetings and will always look back on my time at NASDA with love and gratitude. Thank you to everyone.