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I have always wanted to make a significant contribution to the agricultural industry and help the individuals that make it what it is. NASDA introduced me to the world of agricultural trade and trade shows. My 18 months as an international trade programs intern have left me reluctant to leave because of how much I have enjoyed my time. Before NASDA, I had never left Texas, seen the ocean, or been on a plane, but my internship changed all that. I can now say I have done all this and more by traveling to seven states and three countries. NASDA has taught me to adapt to new environments and has introduced me to some amazing people.

Being able to travel to Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas and experiencing some of the biggest trade shows in the U.S. is something I never want to stop. I have witnessed firsthand the importance of international markets by having the opportunity to learn about the challenges U.S. exporters face and their unmatched passion for their products. This internship helped me realize how much I enjoy interacting and working with people. Especially, when I would laugh and converse with international buyers and exhibitors at the shows.

NASDA has prepared me for a future career in agricultural trade. I plan to continue helping producers and businesses find new and growing markets to increase their exports. As I reflect fondly on the memories of going to Miami and having to buy a Miami-themed wardrobe for an impromptu beach day, having pizza for all my meals during SIAL America with the International Pizza Expo next door, and meeting Colonel Sanders at the NASDA Annual Meeting, all are crazy and exciting experiences I won’t soon forget. My NASDA family encouraged and led me to discover a career in the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. As I say goodbye to NASDA, I know I’ll be able to continue helping food and beverage companies, farmers and ranchers, and state departments of agriculture in my future endeavors.

Laura’s internship with NASDA will conclude after the 2023 A Taste of the States: Chicago trade show in May 2023.