Summer 2022

My first week as an Intern!

Hello! My name is Makayla Kret and I am the new Ag Intern for this summer. I was chosen as one of the seven student interns for the Leadership & Professional Development Through Extension Internship program. This is a 10 week internship opportunity for undergraduate students from two or four year institutions who may have an interest in extension or agriculture. I am from Southern Maryland, and I’m a rising junior at the University of Maryland studying Agricultural and Resource Economics with a concentration in Agribusiness. I recently graduated from the Institute of Applied Agriculture with a certificate in Agricultural Business Management. This summer I will be working with Gretchen Sumbrum and Ronald David Myers on 4-H and Ag program projects. I have already learned so much in my 2 weeks here, and I am so excited for what this summer has to offer!

Ways for High School Students to Become Involved In Agriculture

As students enter high school, they begin exploring their career interests. Finding ways to become involved in your field of interest can be difficult, especially for those who are interested in agriculture. High school is the perfect time for agriculture students to become involved as much as they can.

One way to become involved in agriculture as a high school student is through the 4-H program. The 4-H youth development program is for children and youth. Clovers are ages 5-8, and members are ages 8-18. The 4-H program is organized into several different clubs that allow you to explore and find what you are interested in. Clubs cover the topics of animal science, agriculture, business, gardening, and many more! Students in 4-H are given opportunities to solve hands-on problems on their own, gain new knowledge, network, travel to new places, and so much more. One way that members can learn hands-on is through their 4-H projects. They are usually one year long and on a topic in which the student is interested. There are many more opportunities in 4-H for you to grow and acquire essential skills for success in your career. Click here to explore and join Anne Arundel County 4-H.

Another great way for high school students to become involved in Ag is the Future Farmers of America Organization (FFA). The FFA is an organization that provides youth with leadership and personal development opportunities for successful careers in agriculture. Students will learn these skills through hands-on agricultural education, networking, and classroom instruction. Youth members of this organization range from grades seven through twelve and college. FFA chapters are located right in your school classrooms. If you do not have an FAA chapter in your school, you may be able to enroll in a chapter elsewhere. The FFA currently has 8,817 chapters in all 50 states. Click here to find a chapter located near you. This organization also provides students with scholarship opportunities for students wishing to further their education! To learn more about the FAA, visit their website here.

If you are planning to attend college after high school, the University of Maryland’s Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) is a great institution to continue your education in agriculture. The IAA is a two-year 60-credit certificate program within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland. They currently offer nine program tracks which are Agriculture Business Management, Ag Leadership and Communication, Sustainable Ag, Environmental Stewardship, Ornamental Horticulture, Landscape Management, Golf Course Management, and Sports Turf Grass Management. At the IAA students can gain entrepreneurial and leadership skills through hands-on learning. Being a student at the IAA allows you to network with many professionals/ experts in the agriculture field. This is a great way to learn about jobs that are hiring in your field of interest or spark a mentorship with an expert in your field. If you are interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree, IAA students are able to transfer to the University of Maryland’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to study any major of their choice. Learn more about or apply to the IAA here.

There are many opportunities for high school students interested in agriculture to become involved. Any student thinking about pursuing a career in agriculture should get involved in as many ways as they can.

Week 2

I have now entered my second week as an intern with the Anne Arundel County Extension Office. This week was full of exciting activities and projects for me! I created goals I hope to accomplish during this internship this summer. One goal I have is to strengthen my communication skills. I tend to struggle with communicating my ideas from time to time. During my 10 weeks with UME I will be given ample opportunities to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone when it comes to communicating. Another goal I have for myself is to create my own small home garden with the field experience and knowledge I gained during my time with UME. My main goal with this internship is to have fun and gain as much experience and knowledge as possible! 

I started this week making the necessary edits to the Anne Arundel County Fair Book for 2022. I felt confident completing this task because of the technical skills I gained during online school. I have mastered the skill of using Microsoft Word and Adobe to make edits and format documents. This project was challenging due to an outdated version of Word, but I was able to figure it out and format the document properly. 

I also wrote an article for the monthly Newsletter. This article explains different ways high school students can become involved in agriculture. This article was fun to write because I used prior communication and writing skills I gained from coursework at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) and applied them to my work. Communication is an essential skill in career readiness because it is the only way you will be able to convey ideas and what you are thinking. I strengthened my communication skills through a communications course I took at the IAA. Communication is a skill that can always be worked on. I feel that the experiences I will partake in during this internship will allow me to become a better communicator. 

This week I was given the chance to visit Gambrills Flower Farm. They have so many beautiful flowers to look at. I walked through their greenhouses and observed the flowers and plants they were growing. I saw the strawberry field and how well those crops were producing. There were many career readiness competencies I practiced during this visit, but I found myself practicing professionalism most often. Professionalism is important when it comes to career readiness. This internship will provide opportunities to strengthen my professionalism to be ready for the workforce!