CAES student Kinnidy Coley, right, talks about her summer training at Land O’Lakes Purina Feed in Gray Summit, Missouri, with fellow CAES student leader DeShawn Blanding during the Showcase of Excellence on Sept. 4 in Webb Hall.

More than 60 graduate and undergraduate scholars in all disciplines participated in the 2019 CAES Student Showcase of Excellence, explaining the ways that they expanded their horizons through summer research, internships and study abroad opportunities.

Some built robots in China. Some provided natural resource conservation advice to farmers in South Carolina. Some taught younger students in the CAES’s Research Apprenticeship Program.

All agreed that the new challenges and hands-on learning experiences were worth forfeiting a summer off.

Animal Science student Sydney Gray, right, tells Dr. Janine Parker about her summer internship wih AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals during the Showcase of Excellence.

“If was definitely a rewarding experience,” said Kayla Jones, a junior animal sciences major who spent the summer studying the result of nerve growth factor beta on improving embryonic cleavage rates in cows at Virginia Tech. Although she didn’t know much about the subject matter before her internship, which she found through CAES, she discovered an interest in embryology along the way.

“I love research, and this research is important because of the high demand for meat,” she said. “If cows get pregnant and stay pregnant, that’s more meat on the table.”

The showcase was held Sept. 4 in Webb Hall.

Kiera Mabry, a junior child development major, was very familiar with 4-H and Cooperative Extension from her childhood in Sampson County. What she learned this summer, interning in the Family and Consumer Science/Community Resource Development/4-H Department, was how to lead and facilitate programs for participants of many ages.

“We were going out to schools and summer programs and doing the programs directly,” she said. “I had to do the program and manage the group. I learned a lot about leadership, responsibility and confidence.”

In addition to facilitating the nutrition classes, she also researched affordable housing, helped to facilitate 4-H camps and created and edited videos about healthy eating.

Agribusiness and food industry management major Nia James spent the summer as an intern in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the organization that conducts and analyzes hundreds of surveys each year covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture. During her internship in the Athens, Ga. Regional Field Office, she helped to edit and document the June area survey and produced and published statistical reports for Georgia and Alabama, among other responsibilities.

Sophomore landscape architecture major Danielle Freeman-Jefferson spent the summer in Cambridge, Mass., at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Design Discovery Program, a six-week intensive internship program that required students to create a landscape that would positively benefit the community. She chose to develop her project at a housing project in Cambridge that was between a community center and an elementary school, designing an urban garden and green space for the residents.

“I learned how important it is to interact with the community so that you can design with them in mind,” she said. “Your design has to be of use to the people you’re building for.”