With the 2022 fall semester is in full swing for students, Maria Brockamp and Seth Mitchell ended this summer with hands-on experience in the agriculture industry in the Nation’s Capital. Brockamp and Mitchell are alumni of the NASDA’s Next Generation Class (NNG) of 2021 and recently shared how their experience with this NASDA Foundation student program contributed to their success in the workforce this summer.

Brockamp is currently a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and spent her summer of 2022 in Arlington, V.A., interning with National Milk Producers Federation. As an NNG participant, she learned about regional and national agricultural issues. During her internship, she reflected on the exposure to these national and regional issues as well as contributed to the conversations about them because of the sessions at the 2021 NASDA Annual Meeting.

“My advice to future NextGen students would be to follow up after the conference with people that you met – both industry professionals and fellow students,” Brockamp said. “I still stay in touch with some of those folks and even met up with some of them in D.C. and at other conferences throughout the rest of the year.”

Brockamp is considering a master’s degree in agricultural economics and pursuing a career in the public sector. Reflecting on how participating in NNG will help her future career endeavors, she said she learned about so many different organizations and groups inside the agriculture industry. Brockamp also gained an understanding of how government, private companies, and non-profits interact, which aided in the success she had with her internship in Washington, D.C.

Mitchell is also a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mitchell spent the summer of 2022 with the CropLife America Government Relations team. He said his time as an NNG participant further solidified his interest in agricultural policy and even encouraged him to pursue an internship in Washington, D.C., for the summer. Mitchell was able to reconnect with several of the industry professionals that he had met at the NASDA Annual Meeting while he was in the city.

Mitchell plans to attend law school and work towards becoming an agricultural attorney. Ideally, he will be focusing on legal issues facing animal agriculture and applying legal mechanisms toward his personal mission of helping producers succeed. He said this experience as an NNG participant has helped him build relationships with professionals from across the agriculture sector. Being able to participate in regional meetings and panel discussions have allowed him to gain deeper insight into the issues facing the industry and how he, as a young professional, can contribute to the ever-changing agricultural landscape.

“My advice for other NNG students is to get outside of their comfort zone and take advantage of every opportunity to make intentional connections with conference attendees,” Mitchell said. “Between roundtable discussions, business sessions, meals, networking breaks, and hospitality suites, NNG creates a unique and welcoming environment for students to interact with a wide array of industry professionals in one-on-one conversations. Be sure to branch out, sit by new people, and use your time wisely to build relationships that you can follow up on after your time in the program.”