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Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

United States Department of Agriculture

Beverly Velazquez, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Student

What was involved/what was your role during your internship?

Through this internship, I was a part of a comprehensive developmental program intended to provide me with experience in my desired agricultural field. Work involved various components of on-the-job experience, mentorship, and training. Some of my internship assignments included doing research for the 2018-2020 National Crop Tables and drafting FL State Amendments. I was also able to work directly under higher-level staff members within the Office of the Secretary in the areas of policy analysis, congressional outreach, communications advance. As a Pathways Student Trainee, I provided important outreach and partnership building across the USDA to help establish and implement innovative and strategic plans to engage the next generation of agriculture, and various USDA stakeholders, including Congress, Governors, mayors, members of the press, and farm and agriculture organizations. I was also tasked with assisting USDA customers and stakeholders in a friendly manner, using word processing software and printing equipment for reports and documents, and using a database or spreadsheet software to enter, revise, sort, or calculate, and retrieve data.

What was the best/your favorite part about completing this internship?

My favorite part of my internship with the USDA was having the opportunity to explore different career paths, work as a part of a team and discover where I fit within the field of agriculture. The experience really highlighted my goals in working towards enhancing farm sustainability, protecting our natural resources and achieving food security throughout the nation. I feel prepared and optimistic about continuing to work in the same industry once I graduate from UF.

What are the benefits of an internship?

Internships provide an indispensable real-world application of the theories learned in classes while also helping students gain insight into the field of work they want to go into. Throughout the duration of the internship, there will be constant opportunities to build upon your knowledge, develop your workplace etiquette, and network with professionals within their industry. Internships can also often result in full-time job opportunities for recent graduates.

Why would you recommend internships to other students?

I would definitely recommend other students obtain internship experience during their time at UF because it's a wonderful opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom. My experience as a Pathways Student Trainee for the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) was an incredible opportunity for networking, professional development and learning more about the future of farm sustainability.