My Field of Dreams

Posted: November 18, 2013

Arika talks about how an internship in Oklahoma this summer changed her life.

My favorite late-night television show, Grey’s Anatomy, has taught me many life lessons as I’ve made the transition from high school to college. There always seems to be a quote from the show that fits every aspect of my life.

I’d like to sum up what I experienced this summer with a quote from the show: “They say the bigger your investment, the bigger your return. But you have to be willing to take a chance. You have to understand, you might lose it all. But if you take that chance, if you invest wisely the payoff might just surprise you.”--Grey's Anatomy, Season 6 Episode 8

Farm View

Oklahoma became my home for three months while I interned for the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The Noble Foundation prides itself in providing consultation services free of charge to producers within a 100-mile radius of headquarters in areas such as livestock, rangeland, forage, and many other facets. While offering these services to the public, the Foundation also has multiple research studies that have been conducted in regards to feed maintenance in beef cattle operations, fire burning and its benefits on the ecological system, and forage improvement.

I cannot begin to describe to you all the emotions I felt when I accepted the internship offer during spring break last year. Looking back then, I wasn’t quite prepared for what I experienced this summer. First of all, my advice to anyone who is looking for an internship or unsure about an opportunity--take chances in life. Apply for the internship even though you think you don’t stand a chance. Take a job or internship outside of Pennsylvania (or your home state) for a summer and see if you like other areas of the country. It’s OKAY to explore your options.

Group Shot of Noble Foundation Interns

This internship made me finally realize how important it is to focus in class. Although most of us don’t want to admit it now, we’re all going to face challenges along the way in real-life situations where we might need to reference our Intro to Animal Science class or even our COMM 100 class when preparing a speech. No matter what, realize that once you leave the rolling hills of Happy Valley, you’re walking away with one of the best agriculture degrees in the nation. The Noble Foundation helped me focus my interests and discover what I would like to pursue as a future career in the agriculture industry. As I started my internship, I didn’t realize just how real to the actual job my position would be. I was able to ride out with consultants on multiple farm visits talking with producers about what was and wasn’t working on their operations, discussing everything from cattle to crops. We were given the opportunity to ask questions and had the chance to work on our own consultation project at the end of our time with Noble. I believed I gained a great deal of knowledge this summer just because I was granted this type of freedom to learn in a educational and professional setting. I would like to thank Noble for helping steer me in the direction of pursuing a career in either animal nutrition or agriculture consulting in the near future.  

Noble Foundation Interns in Fort Worth

I would encourage all undergraduates to take advantage of the same sorts of opportunities that I had and run with your dreams. You are limitless and life can get complicated, but make your college years really count. These are the experiences and moments where the real learning begins and it starts by taking your Penn State degree and chasing your dreams and finding your passion!

                             I found my field of dreams in Oklahoma.