Greetings, my name is Lionel Patterson and I am a Native American graduate student at the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration - Graduate Program. I have been with the USDA-Dairy Programs Virtual Internship Program (VIP) for over 10 years. During my time, I have received two Associates Degrees (Liberal Arts and Graphic Design) and a Bachelors of University Studies. I am currently finishing up in the field of Public Management for my Masters program. I began my internship with Dairy Programs in the summer of 2000, as part of the Washington Internship for Native Students (WINS) with American University.
I have experienced a range of things in my time with USDA and the VIP program. As I embarked with the WINS program, I was assigned to work for AMS Dairy Programs. I took every opportunity I was given to demonstrate what I was capable of regarding Graphic Designing and visual communications. I was given a several assignments and completed them with positive feedback. So positive in fact, that I was offered a Dairy Spot Award at the completion of my Internship with WINS. My supervisor and I began to discuss possible approaches for me to continue my education and work for Dairy Programs. With a Pilot Plan put in place, and several approvals made within the Agency, the Virtual Internship Program was established. I continued to work for Dairy Programs from 2000 to 2003, then was transferred to AMS-Fruit and Vegetable Program (F&V) from 2003 to 2006, and then since 2007 returned to Dairy Programs to present.
I have found several areas that I enjoyed best in my experience. USDA has allowed me to learn several skills such as organizational management, leadership, and critical thinking and decision making. As the years progressed, so did the magnitude of software I had to comprehend. I had the honor of learning several Multimedia software packages, such as Adobe Creative Suites, to better advance my projects. Whenever there was an upgrade to software that I was using to perform my duties, I was responsible for learning and staying current with them. This is what I liked best about my experience, learning new software or versions of software and establishing techniques to utilize them. The only thing I did not like about my experience was overwhelming myself with projects that are time consuming. This experienced came when I attempted to work on a program that seemed to be so innovative at the time. This project consisted a lot of hours of devotion. The more I put my time into it, the less interest it became to me, on a professional and personal level. The only conclusion I found positive about that project was that it was completed.
I found my time within the VIP program to be very beneficial; learning software, establishing techniques within, and having a great amount of people to work with. Experiencing the magnitude of work given and the opportunity to apply my trade, gave me lots of successful outcomes. This all can leave a positive track record on a professional level. I enjoyed my time within the VIP program and the best advice I can offer, was given to me in 2000, "Take Every Opportunity you are given and Make Something Good out of it."
Check out my original art work featured on our main dairy landing page.