Hello my name is Stephanie Guzman. I am a third year Agribusiness major and international agriculture certificate at the University of Georgia. I do not come from a farm background but got interested in agriculture through an internship with the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science as a senior in high school. My parents are both from Colombia and have raised me to always have a global perspective and consideration.
I interned with the USDA the summer right after my first year of at UGA via a scholarship called the Multicultural Scholarship funded by the Agricultural Research Service, but I was placed to work with AMS Dairy programs in IT. My first day was orientation, which was a busy day filling out paperwork and finally at the end of the day I was able to meet my boss and fellow Microsoft intern who is now a virtual intern like myself and a dear colleague of mine.
From the start I had the opportunity to take part in some very exciting and influential projects. The first of two main projects that I worked on throughout the summer was a collaborative effort to redesign and update the overall look of the USDA website. It was really a great experience to witness the collaboration amongst various agencies. The other was to learn about a new software called PCAT Public Comment Analysis Toolkit, which is a project funded by National Science Foundation to explain, educate and train others about its function and benefits. This software gave us the opportunity to understand comments from Farmers and Industry on various issues.
As an intern I had many opportunities not only to explore D.C. but to explore different parts of the USDA. My boss allowed me to take part in conferences, interns' sessions, orientations for other agencies that were of interest to me, and a career fair. I was also able to take advantage of free classes on Friday at the farmer's market regarding various gardening issues from plant pathology to the disappearance of bees and how we can address these issues and make a difference. I was provided professional business cards, allowed to partake in taste tests for packaged food that would be sent to the military, witness the growth of the people's garden, and help harvest some peppers and rosemary.
I lived right outside of D.C. in Silver Spring, Maryland with a roommate, and took the metro to work every morning to the D.C. office.
Benefits include but are not limited to:
- Gain full time experience working five days a week for 40 hours.
- Experience riding the metro to and from work.
- Network with truly amazing people.
You should never be bored. If you have nothing to do, ask for work. If you find out about something interesting going on in D.C. such as a conference or seminar of your interest do not be afraid to ask your boss. When in doubt ASK! Be kind to everyone and maintain a level of professionalism.