The importance of internships

The importance of internships

Sep 22
Sara Tondini, Animal Sciences graduate student

Internships are a great way for students to apply the knowledge they receive in class to hands-on experience. They prepare students for real life situations and can open up many doors. I just completed an 11-week internship over the summer with the ACES Office of Research where I was able to work full-time on a University of Illinois beef cattle farm and conduct my own research project. This was a great experience, and I want to share the highlights of my internship with you!

This summer I gained knowledge, worked hard, faced challenges, and made great friends. I learned how to work cattle through the chutes, vaccinate, fly tag, artificially inseminate, and ultrasound. A little part of my day, every day, was spent with the cattle, which I enjoyed. Along with animal handling, I also learned how to fix and build fences, maintain the pastures, and drive a tractor. I was challenged, daily, to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills when working on the farm and these are attributes that I find applicable to my everyday life. The research aspects were my favorite parts of this internship.

Working in the lab and seeing the statistical results of a project that I worked on for months, and then being able to share those results and practical applications with the public, was very satisfying. Before this summer, I wanted a career that would allow me to work with beef cattle, and this internship reaffirmed my career path. Seeing the ins and outs of a beef cattle research farm made me more knowledgeable about all the work it takes to keep a farm running, and I can now see myself being an important part of this industry.

I highly recommend students participate in at least one internship during their college career to gain hands-on experience in their field and expand their networking prospects. I am very grateful for this opportunity and glad that the College of ACES provides experiences like these for their students!

Working with cattle at Orr Beef Research Center.

Performing Acid-Insoluble Ash Analysis on composites.