2019 UK intern Hannah York, right, teaches fellow interns from left: McKaylee Copher, Bella Usenza, Gina Merzbacher and Kayla Shelton how to calibrate a Gandy fertilizer spreader. Photo courtesy of Carrie Knott, UKREC director.

By Katie Pratt

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 6, 2021) — Undergraduate students interested in expanding their knowledge of production agriculture and pest management can apply for a hands-on research internship next summer with the University of Kentucky Grain and Forage Center of Excellence.

“Sustainable grain and forage production rely on a well-trained and experienced workforce,” said Carrie Knott, director of the UK Research and Education Center and internship coordinator. “This hands-on internship will enhance concepts students are learning in the classroom, as traditional ‘textbook examples’ rarely occur in the field, and better prepare them for rewarding careers.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates summer internship program allows students to complete meaningful projects in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Internships are based at either the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton or at UK’s main campus in Lexington.

Students can choose from projects in plant pathology, entomology, and plant and soil sciences. Interns will take ownership of the project and learn from UK scientists how to conduct scientific research, analyze their findings and use their data to develop a professional research poster and report. They will present their findings during the UK Corn, Soybean and Tobacco Field Day in July in Princeton. In addition to conducting research, they will increase their understanding of the Cooperative Extension Service.

The 12-week internship for 2021 will run from May 17 through Aug. 13 and will follow current COVID-19 guidelines. It is open to any undergraduate student, including incoming freshmen and recent graduates, studying at any U.S. university.

The internship is highly competitive with only 12 applicants selected. Funding from the USDA REEU will provide selected interns with a stipend and housing allowance.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 15. The application is available online at http://graincrops.ca.uky.edu/usda-internships or by contacting Knott at carrie.knott@uky.edu, Kiersten Wise, UK extension plant pathologist, at kiersten.wise@uky.edu or Erin Haramoto, UK weed scientist, at erin.haramoto@uky.edu.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.