During my internship, I worked on two projects. I am continuing to work on these this year as well. The first was on ISU Extension and Outreach's new in-person short course covering shelf life and shelf stability. I had to familiarize myself with food safety and shelf life considerations first, as I had no experience in the area at all. I spent a lot of time reading books and refutable journal articles to familiarize myself with content before anything else. Once I was an expert, I helped to edit scripts, worked on interactive activities, helped with outreach, and created resources for participants. The second project is creating lectures and updating ISU resources based on legislation HF 2431 that passed in Iowa. The bill changes regulations and licensing for home-based kitchen operators. I have been writing script outlines, meeting with and corresponding with a panel from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, and going through the editing process.
I would consider my greatest accomplishment to be learning how to conduct myself professionally and gaining more responsibility in my role. At the beginning of my internship, I could barely send an e-mail. By the end, I got to participate in an important meeting with the DIA and CIRAS and regularly corresponded with professionals in the industry much more easily. This was an extremely valuable experience for me, as I feel much more confident in my sense of self from a work perspective.
The greatest lesson I learned was not being afraid to ask for help. I was very intimidated at first, and often struggled by myself. I am still learning this lesson, but I am finally becoming more comfortable asking Dr. Coleman for resources and guidance. I am realizing that asking for help is a tool, rather than a failure. I also do not feel so alone in my tasks--I am confident that I have people there to support me along the way.
What advice would you give?
My advice for future students is not to be afraid to get involved and reach out to faculty. I got the position I had because I wanted to learn more about opportunities in the department. Building those connections early on is important--now I am excited to meet more people in my major and discuss my experiences at the career fair.