Students Build Career Skills Through Vita Plus Internships (September 2014)
Pictured here are, left to right: (back row) Augusta Hagen, Vita Plus dairy specialist and 2014 internship coordinator; Joshua Krueger, UW-Stevens Point; Michael Schmitt, University of Minnesota; Joshua Garver, Michigan State University; Emma Waterworth, UW-River Falls; (front row) Kary Babb, UW-Platteville; and Emily Templeton, UW-Platteville.
(Madison, Wis.) – Six students from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin recently completed their Vita Plus internship programs after building career skills through many diverse opportunities and projects. The students were selected based upon academic performance, career goals, agricultural background and relevant skills. They worked throughout the Upper Midwest, networking with fellow Vita Plus employee owners, dairy and livestock producers, and industry partners.
Kary Babb grew up on a beef farm in Durand, Illinois and is the second student to complete the Vita Plus Dairy Technical Extended Internship Program through the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Her internship experience stretched over two semesters and a summer. During that time, she evaluated blood calcium levels in dairy cows, conducted a feed trial using a robotic feed pusher, and investigated shrink of products at the Vita Plus Dodgeville facility. She will graduate in December with a degree in animal science. Babb plans to attend graduate school to further her education before pursuing a career as a livestock nutritionist. She said her internship experience gave her a broader perspective of the feed industry. “I learned more about being a nutritionist and how the industry works as a whole,” she said. “I also road along with different nutritionists and it was nice to see how everyone does things differently and still comes to similar results.”
Joshua Garver grew up on a 100-cow dairy farm in White Pigeon, Michigan. He graduated in May from Michigan State University (MSU) with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and specialization in agribusiness management. He was a member of Block and Bridle and Student Senate. As a dairy summer intern, Garver assisted with several feeding program evaluations on dairy farms. He also led an alfalfa scissor-clipping project to help producers correlate time of harvest and forage quality. Garver is continuing his education to earn a master’s degree in animal science through the Vita Plus Michigan State Dairy Nutrition and Management Fellowship Program. He plans to pursue a career in dairy nutrition. Garver said his internship helped him better understand the role consultants play on today’s dairy farms. “The relationships and responsibilities have really evolved over the years and it is very interesting to me that the consultant’s focus on some farms is more on managing teams and less on managing cows,” he said.
Joshua Krueger, Albany, Wisconsin, is a student at UW-Stevens Point. He plans to graduate in the winter of 2015 with a degree in computer information systems and an emphasis in network and information assurance. This summer, he worked as an IT intern based in Madison, Wisconsin. His major projects included exploring new software to help teams collaborate as well as mobile device and computer support. Krueger plans to take back what he has learned to his computer lab assistant role on the UWSP campus. “There are very close relationships between the people working here,” Krueger said as he reflected on his internship. “Everyone has a specialty that plays a major role within the company and it is neat seeing how it all happens.”
Emily Templeton grew up on a fifth-generation dairy and crop farm in Evansville, Wisconsin. She is a junior at UW-Platteville with a major in agribusiness and a minor in animal science. On campus, she is a member of the Sigma Alpha Sorority, Ag Business Club and Collegiate Farm Bureau. This summer, Templeton worked as a forage intern. Her major projects included evaluation of TMR mixer scale accuracies, bunker surface area and density surveys, and observation of cow feeding patterns. Templeton said she will use the skills she’s built in a future agricultural career. “I have been surrounded by the agricultural industry my entire life and it has made me into the person I am today,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine myself without it.”
Emma Waterworth is actively involved in her family’s beef and cash crop farm in Fall River, Wisconsin. She is currently a junior at UW-River Falls with a major in agribusiness and a minor in animal science. She is a member of the Agriculture Business and Marketing Society, the Agricultural Education Society and the Beef Management Team. Waterworth spent her summer as a Vita Plus Fall River grain marketing intern. She assisted with weighing trucks, grading grain, testing wheat for vomitoxin, comparing and contrasting area bid sheets, and creating corn basis charts over the past 10 years. Waterworth said she appreciated the chance to work on meaningful projects as an intern. “The atmosphere at Vita Plus Fall River is excellent and everyone is great,” she said. “They really made sure I felt like an employee, not the young college student I am.”
Michael Schmitt grew up on his family’s registered Holstein farm in Rice, Minnesota. He is a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in animal science with a dairy production emphasis and a minor in applied economics. He is a member of the Gopher Dairy Club and the Dairy Judging and Dairy Challenge teams. He is also president of the Minnesota Chapter of the FarmHouse Fraternity. As a dairy technology intern, Schmitt led a dry cow heat abatement project and also surveyed farms using automatic calf feeders to identify best practices for this emerging technology. He will graduate in May and plans to apply his experiences to a career in dairy. “The people I work with at Vita Plus really care about the customers they serve,” Schmitt said. “It is very evident the effects a nutritionist can have on a farm and the value of bringing useful information to the farmer.”
Vita Plus Corporation is an employee-owned company headquartered in Madison, Wis. Vita Plus has been serving livestock producers since 1948. More than just a feed supplier, Vita Plus consultants offer the latest cutting-edge technology, nutrition and management information. For more information about the organization, call 1-800-362-8334 or go online at www.vitaplus.com.