In Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, one of the best benefits students gain is also one that keeps them working 12-hour-plus days, pays them nothing but teaches them a great deal.
Seven Colorado State students are serving as interns at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, learning how to run the country’s biggest and best livestock show and rodeo. And they do a bit of running themselves in return for college credit.
Judi Barbour, a former intern who now coordinates the program, said the number of interns working varies year by year (all interns are Colorado State students except for one scholarship winner annually from the University of Wyoming). Interns are spread throughout the press office, international room, livestock entry office, livestock office in the pens, equine operations, commercial exhibits and human resources.
It’s a good thing Barbour, a 1997 graduate who is now career counselor for Colorado State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, had her own experience with days that lasted 12 to 14 hours. In addition to overseeing intern operations, she works in the livestock office and is superintendent of the premier exhibitor contest. That, she said, is one of the advantages of an internship.
"I learned so much about dealing with people and so much about what goes on on the other side of the industry, among cattle growers, when I interned," she said. "I met so many key contact people that in 1977, I was an intern down here dealing with premier exhibitors and the next year they asked me to be superintendent."
Even interns-some are freshmen-aren’t immune to the frustrations that exhibitors face, but overall, she said, "people were generally pretty pleasant." It’s an experience she highly recommends to Colorado State agricultural science students.
"I totally recommend it," Barbour said. "It’s a really, really good opportunity. If nothing else, the contacts interns make and the experience they get about running a huge national show, one of the top in the nation, is an experience beyond measure."
Colorado state interns this year include:
- Ann Boller, junior equine science major from Colorado Springs, Colo., who works with the horse contests.
- Elisha Hernandez, senior equine science major from San Juan Capistrano, Calif., who works with commercial exhibits.
- Nicole Descheemaeker, freshman animal science major from Lewistown, Mont., who works in the press office.
- Katie Ratliff, senior animal science major from Elko, Nev., who works in the press office.
- Andrew L. Weaber, senior animal science major from Beulah, Colo., who works with the horse contests.
- Amanda Winter, freshman agricultural business major from Arvada, Colo., who works in commercial exhibits.
- Kaye Woolam, senior animal science major from Richmond, Maine., who works in livestock entry.