State University students in the Harold and Pearl Dripps School of Agricultural
Sciences took advantage of internships this summer that provided real life training
outside of the classroom. These internships included tagging wildlife in Cameron
Parish and New Mexico, promoting Brahman cattle in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas,
packing eggs in Iowa, vaccinating pigs in North Carolina and working with
horses in Ecuador.
"Internships benefit students by
providing career-related experience before they graduate, says Dr. Chip
LeMieux, school director. "Internships allow our students to connect their
classroom knowledge with on-the-job training that prepares them for the
workplace upon graduation. We encourage all of our students to complete
internships to gain experience and industry contacts. Student internships are
potentially the most important part of the students academic career.
A couple of natural resource
conservation management students - Shaye Serice, of Sulphur, and Jonathon Lueck,
of DeQuincy, worked as interns for Louisiana Audubon in Cameron Parish. Both students
helped in compiling nest counts and colony surveys of the
populations of four species of birds - Wilson's Plover,
Least Terns, Black Skimmers and Common Nighthawks from Holly Beach to the
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
"To protect these vulnerable
populations, we put up fencing around the colonies and assisted in banding the Wilson's
Plovers and Least Terns to help monitor their population, migration and mating
habits throughout the season, said Serice.
"This experience tied together a lot of
the material I learned in my wildlife management classes and made it hands on,
she added. "Working with Audubon Louisiana was very inspiring, too, because of
how passionateand caringthis organization is about birds and
wildlife. This internship provided me with the experience I need to land a job
Nadja Knox, an animal science student from Chicago, Illinois, traveled
to Quito, Ecuador, to work with horses at a veterinary facility and "learn the
"Some days, I worked more than 12 hours doing
such routine procedures as equine dentistry, lab exams, podiatry and clinical
evaluations as part of animal preventive medicine but it never felt like work,
Knox said. "This internship, and working in Ecuador, gave me a real perspective
of what my career could be like and the tools that I need to succeed.
Sadie Buller, a natural resource
conservation management student from Ville Platte, interned as a biology
technician at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio,
New Mexico, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
job included working with two of the endangered species that existed on the
refuge - the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and the Yellow Billed Cuckoo. I walked
five separate transects, six different times, conducting absence/presence surveys
for both of these birds. The protocol on these surveys was very specific and
highly specialized to the natural history of each bird, said Buller.
duties included weekly catching and tagging of adult monarch butterflies,
catching, banding and transmitting the elusive Mexican duck and removing invasive
plant and animal species.
She also had the
opportunity to work on the prairie dog reintroduction project at the Sevilleta
National Wildlife Refuge and to assist surveying the endangered Mexican Spotted
Owl with the Lincoln National Forest Smokey the Bear Ranger District crew in
"This internship has been the most beneficial
experience of my life, Buller says. "I learned so many hands-on skills - GPS
tracking, data collection, experience handling and banding live birds and
southwestern plant and animal identification. I think the connections I made
within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was one of the most beneficial aspects
of my internship.
Kealy Stelly, an animal
science/pre-veterinary student from Opelousas, interned with Tyson Foods Inc.
in Carthage, Mississippi. As an operations intern, she had the unique
opportunity to experience every part of the food-preparation process from live
poultry and processing to shipping and receiving and quality assurance.
"I think this internship was an amazing
opportunity for me, Stelly said. "I was exposed to a side of the agricultural
industry that I had never seen before. It was a very hands-on experience and I
learned just what it takes to feed the world. I was not only exposed to a
different part of agriculture but also a potential career path after
graduation. I am certainly thankful for the opportunity.