AGEC Student Experiences Three Aspects of Consulting through an Internship in DC

A DC Government Affairs internship after her freshman year led Brooke Schafer (Senior; Applied Ag Econ and Plant Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology, Chebanse, IL) to a new career plan. This past summer, she returned to DC to complete another internship. This time it was with Michael Torrey Associates, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in food and agriculture. Through this internship, she was able to experience three different aspects of consulting: lobbying, management and strategic planning, and communications, as well as the administrative work that goes into running a firm. 

To an extent, every day on the job varied, which was one of her favorite parts. Every week, she drafted two weekly newsletters, attended hearings and meetings, conducted research, completed projects, and attended Congressional and Administration meetings. Through those activities, she learned extensively about policy issues within the agriculture and food industries. She also learned much more about lobbying and how much work goes in getting a new law or regulation across the finish line. Brooke said, “This summer was particularly interesting because of the severe weather conditions farmers faced throughout the country and how quickly stakeholders worked to provide necessary relief to those affected by it.” She also found it interesting to work with a relatively small team on a wide breadth of issues. 

Overall, the experience Brooke had this summer was one that she will always be grateful for, but there were two parts she remembers most fondly. Her favorite days were when clients would visit DC for fly-ins and they would spend all day meeting with Members of Congress explaining why they are passionate about agriculture and how policy impacts the industry. Overall, her favorite part was the people she met. Brooke found the MTA team to be like a family and has created lasting connections and friendships with them. Outside of the team, she was also able to reconnect with others from her prior summer in DC and create new connections. Brooke says, “Those relationships are some of the most valuable things I took away from this summer.”  

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