Rising Star Interns Share Extension Experience

By Barb McBreen, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service

SHELDON, Iowa ­– Whether it’s sharing gardening experiences, helping with a county fair or sharing nutrition tips, the Iowa State University Rising Star Internship program helps students learn what it’s like to work in an extension office.

“I have gained some of the most valuable experiences of my life. I have learned new skills and ideas that will be beneficial in my everyday life and future career,” said Alyssa Rosenbaum, a junior in horticulture and food science from Sioux City, Iowa.

Rosenbaum along with two other students moved to Sheldon in May to begin a summer internship with the ISU Extension and Outreach regional office in northwest Iowa. The students take part in activities covering a six-county area.

“We teach gardening lessons and activities at three day cares each week, as well as working in three donation gardens across the counties,” Rosenbaum said. “The produce is donated to local food pantries in the communities surrounding the gardens.”

The three students also share their weekly experiences in a blog. Natalee Dippel, a senior in agriculture and life sciences education, from Belmond, Iowa, said the internship fits perfectly with her career goals. 

“I have always had a passion for youth and educating others about agriculture,” Dippel said. “After graduation I plan to work with youth as an agriculture education teacher and athletics coach in Iowa.”

The same goals are true for Maddie Robinson, a senior in human development and family studies, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

“I am passionate about learning and making education accessible for everyone. I have experience researching education curriculum, but this summer internship will be my first opportunity to implement lessons and view the children’s learning progression,” Robinson said.

The program was started in 2014 to provide Iowa State students an opportunity to learn about extension activities. Cheryl Heronemus, the extension director who helped develop the internships, said she enjoys mentoring students, sharing the extension experience and introducing them to the career possibilities it offers.

“Even though ISU is a land-grant institution, many of these college students are not familiar with the extension mission,” Heronemus said. “The Rising Star Internship give them hands-on experience doing the type of work extension professionals enjoy every day.”

This summer 12 interns are working in four of the 20 ISU Extension and Outreach regions in Iowa. The program is funded through the Iowa State  Colleges of Design, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences and ISU Extension and Outreach.

Students from all four regions blog their experiences weekly. The blogs include photos and videos. 

Additional information at:  https://www.inside.iastate.edu/article/2019/04/18/rising-star

July 17, 2019