Jaydon with IN FFA sign

Jaydon Kauffman finds the power of being in the present



Jaydon Kauffman (Battle Ground, IN; Ag Econ/PPL) knew that being someone incredibly focused on personal and professional development taking on a summer internship was the next step in life towards reaching his goals. The journey of getting the internship he ended up with though is one he will never forget. Jaydon has been in FFA since 2018. As a senior in high school, he had the privilege of serving as the Indiana FFA District 1 President. “During that time, I was able to briefly work alongside state staff, and at the end of my term, I was approached by our organization’s Executive Director, Tamara Ketchen, about the internship. Her very brief words of ‘See you next summer when you’re my next intern’ will be engrained in my mind for the rest of my life,” said Jaydon.

This one sentence in combination with his FFA experiences led Jaydon to being hired by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture as a part of the Governor’s summer internship program. Here he worked alongside the Indiana FFA State Staff both at the ISDA office in Indianapolis and the Indiana FFA Leadership Center in Trafalgar. Alongside his co-intern, Marnie Schwartzkopf, he helped prepare for and put on the 94th Indiana FFA State Convention and the FFA’s portion of the Indiana State Fair. “Marnie and I gave the ISDA printer a run for its money while printing materials for Leadership and Career Development Events, planned and facilitated our own version of a leadership camp for the Indiana FFA Executive Committee, and helped to design and operate our pavilion for all eighteen of the greatest days of summer.” He did mention that the coolest part of his summer, outside of learning about event planning and team management, of course, was driving the Indiana FFA-branded Chevrolet Suburban.

Jaydon with the Indiana FFA-branded Chevrolet Suburban
Jaydon with his co-intern Marnie

When asked what his valuable takeaways from this experience were, Jaydon said, “I learned so much about myself, and I accredit that to my time working alongside state staff. I now appreciate the value of a dedicated, passionate team so much more than I did before, and I have a new respect for each member of Indiana FFA’s state staff.” Though he could not pick a favorite memory from the summer, he said he will never forget living in what was essentially a room at a summer camp, working alongside incredible people, and suffering through the hottest days of summer at the State Fair.

Despite not knowing what his future career holds, Jaydon knows his time with Indiana FFA is not over. He has found a passion for professional development and helping others become the best versions of themselves. He said, “I will not be surprised if either of those passions finds their way into my future career path, and I hope to be back alongside my FFA family in the future as well.” He decided that he wanted to get a variety of experiences while here in college, so he would not be returning as an intern, he stated, “That does not mean that I am not toying with the idea of working with them full time in the future!”

Jaydon also advised other students following his time with Indiana FFA. “Over the course of the summer, I had the feeling that my internship was not as interesting or cool as the internships that other people had. I was consistently comparing what I thought the ‘impact’ of what my internship was giving me to the internships/jobs of others. Looking back, all I can remember is how great of a stepping stone my internship was, and how much I have benefitted from it. I realized that my path does not have to be identical to the paths of those around me and that I need to learn to be content with where I am at. I want every one of you to remember that as you fill out your Purdue applications, apply for internships, and chase your dreams!”