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Universities Back in Session as Students Return from Summer Activities

Universities Back in Session as Students Return from Summer Activities
Ag students gain valuable experiences during summer intern assignments.

Indiana's major colleges and universities are back in session. Purdue University completes its first week of classes for the 2012 fall semester this Friday. Only a few universities, primarily out of state, still follow a calendar that calls for classes starting after Labor Day.

Many of the agriculture students form the Purdue University College of Agriculture didn't stop learning over the summer. Some took classes and stayed on campus, but many spent the summer earning money for this fall's tuition while completing valuable internship activities.

INTERN EXPERIENCE: Laura Stockwell has learned about marketing and sales firsthand as a summer intern for John Deere for the past two summers.

Jay Akridge, Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture, stresses that Purdue ranks high among ag schools in having companies recruiting students during both fall and spring. Part of the recruitment is for seniors ready to join the workforce. But recruiters also look for promising students to work as interns in their program during the summer. These internships often lead to first jobs and careers for students.

While nothing is set in stone, more companies appear to be using the recruitment tool for younger college students to get a look at who might make good employees in the future. For example, Monsanto hires students both in sales and in research, and sends them to various locations across the country. They work with plant breeders and agronomists, or salesmen, depending upon their interest. At the start of the program and at the conclusion, Monsanto brings the groups together in St. Louis, the company's headquarters, to tell them more about the company and the business, and to assess how well the student might fit into their industry.

Laura Stockwell, Hudson, spent the summer as an intern for John Deere, traveling the country. It's her second summer as an intern for Deere in various positions. She's a senior in ag sales and marketing in Ag Economics this fall at Purdue. Laura is also a former state FFA officer. She recently put her marketing skills to work to help plan a community open house for her family's dairy farm.

So education goes on all year long, whether students are on campus or not.

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