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22 Years of AgChoice Interns: Where Are They Now?

As we prepare to welcome a new group of interns to our team this summer, we are celebrating National Internship Awareness Month. Let’s catch up with a few former interns who joined us as staff members after graduation. They will share their experiences on their path from intern to employee. Introducing Leslie Hoover, who worked with our finance and accounting team in 2012.

What have you been up to since your internship?

After completing the internship program, a few others and I attended the full staff meeting that fall where I was approached about working part-time with the finance team during my winter break. At the prospect of earning money and working for a team I was already familiar with I agreed. That opportunity led to two interviews for different positions at AgChoice, one of which they let me know that the accounting team was in the works and I was at the top of the list to try and get on board; that was all before the end of January. Simultaneously I was very active in finishing my college degrees, on the student council and elected to the Intercollegiate Dressage Association Board. Later that March, I had another interview with the manager of the accounting team and extended an offer before walking the graduation stage in April. Between January and March, I had several reach-outs from various ACH staffers to keep tabs on me; I like to think it’s to make sure I wasn’t stolen and to help let them know they weren’t the only suitors.

What was the most beneficial aspect or most important thing you learned during your internship?

The Internal Audit Project I conducted in the summer of 2012 was the first of its kind that AgChoice had gone through. Because of this, and the nature of the project itself I received an interworking experience that employees don’t get even after 18 months of employment. I met with all of the senior leaders, members of the board one-on-one, traveled to other branches and had department learning sessions that made me feel like I was an intelligence spy for AgFirst! Our intern classes projects were diverse and all over the map. I may have lost sleep writing my final report, but the overall experience it allowed me was great. All of the interactions I had with staff and my fellow interns was practical and of real-use value.

A few random memories:

  • Caleb Wright was tasked with helping plan Martinsburg’s CAE that year. Not only was he successful at planning the event but he, Sarah Kleinfelter and myself ended up in a water balloon battle with all SLT members that were there. (Pretty sure I don’t need to state who won.)
  • Trip to DC. My sister works for USDA in Washington DC and was nice enough to give us a tour of the Dept. of Ag Building. There wasn’t a lot of time in our schedule so we basically speed-walked around the building and paused long enough to take a few pictures to prove that we did it. In the evenings, we would wander around and the guys would constantly ask if I knew where I was going; I did.
  • Ag Progress: We attracted many people ourselves because as an intern class we knew lots of people within the ag community already. The marketing team had balloons; we handed out so many balloons! I am pretty sure Aaron Harris’s hands were green from the color and Caleb and I got blisters!

One word to describe my internship experience:

Practical. I was given a serious project, but in the position of an intern was sometimes looked to as the low-man on the totem pole, and had to prove and work my way to the top during interviews. The environment of AgChoice allowed me to succeed in doing so. It wasn’t just about benefiting the company, it was about making sure I left with self-growth and tools to use in the future.

What advice do you have for young adults?

Temporary positions and internships can be either placeholders or person shapers. Go out of your comfort zone and see what happens. Any position can be a placeholder, but it’s up to you to make it a place holder. In addition, in every situation, show others how you are indispensable.

AgChoice 2012 interns at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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