AGEC Students’ Internships in Public Policy and Regulatory Sector

Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

A few AGEC students had the chance to gain experience in the public policy and regulatory sector through their internships this past summer. They built upon their conflict resolution skills, enhanced their passion for public policy, and expanded their communication skills.

Dane Erickson (Sophomore; Quantitative Analysis; Clarks Hill, IN) was in Washington, D.C., interning in the House of Representatives for Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois's 16th district. The internship consisted of handling constituent concerns such as taking phone calls and writing letters to constituents, as well as attending hearings, doing legislative research, summarizing bills for staff, and acting as a page between the office and the House floor. “I gained skills in conflict resolution and learned how to calmly help people that were sometimes quite unhappy with me and the actions of Congress.” Although difficult, the phone call aspect of the internship was one of his favorites. Congressional hearings helped Dane understand the most pressing issues of modern politics such as tariffs and tax reform through the first-hand testimonies.

Brooke Schafer (Junior; Applied Agricultural Economics; Chebanse, IL) interned for Pioneer in Product Stewardship and was located in Johnston, IA. The biggest part of her internship was scoring refuge compliance assessments, which is a big part of extending the durability of the Bt traits. Brooke worked on the development of the 2020 Product Use Guide. It will showcase all of the brands and products under the Corteva umbrella. Working with many people in different areas of the company allowed Brooke further plan for her future by listening to their different perspectives. “Overall, I found this internship very valuable because I am incredibly interested in policy, and this was a great way to not only see how a company responds to certain regulations, but also how they use their own research to recommend policies to regulators.”

Lauren Schreck (Junior; Quantitative Analysis; Fishers, IN) was the Public Policy Intern for Indiana Farm Bureau. She helped prepare the Policy Advisory Groups for Local Government, Livestock, and Education, as they collaborated on policy recommendations to be adopted by the grassroots delegation and she provided recommendations on plans for the Public Policy Team to engage with FFA members at the state and national levels. Her favorite part of the internship was attending the USDA NASS August Lockup in Washington D.C. During this trip, she was briefed on tariff-affected crop prices at the same time as the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and then had the chance to chat with him afterward. “Most importantly I learned how to communicate in the world of politics and how to see value in every connection I make.” She believes that learning this valuable perspective will allow her to be more successful as she continues to pursue a career in a governmental field related to agriculture.

These internships provided students with a look into what a public policy career truly entails. Each student can agree that they feel better prepared for what tasks they could be handling in their future professional positions. The other student who had an internship in this sector was Caroline Sebastian

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