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Two Western Illinois University School of Agriculture students were recently selected as summer interns for GROWMARK, Inc.'s paid internship program. Chad Schone (left, from Jacksonville, IL) and Kirby Mixer (Concord, IL) were chosen earlier this spring after qualifying and applying for the competitive summer internship program.

Ag Students Selected for GROWMARK Summer Internship Programs

May 1, 2014


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MACOMB, IL — Two Western Illinois University School of Agriculture students were recently selected as summer interns for GROWMARK, Inc.'s paid internship program. Kirby Mixer (Concord, IL) and Chad Schone (Jacksonville, IL) were chosen earlier this spring after qualifying and applying for the competitive summer internship program.

Mixer, a junior majoring in agricultural business, was selected for an energy internship at Praireland FS. Schone, a junior majoring in agriculture and minoring in agronomy, was selected for an agronomy internship at Prairieland FS.

"The School of Agriculture has had a long sustaining relationship with GROWMARK, and through our relationship over the years, we know that recruiters there are very selective when it comes to awarding their summer internships. Students begin the screening process as early as October and generally are notified in the early months of the spring semester," explained Andrew Baker, WIU School of Agriculture interim director.

Baker said each GROWMARK intern is required to complete a special project during his/her internship program, and the projects generally consist of working on cost-saving methods or the development of new services or products.

According to Brittany Piepenbrink, university relations recruiter for GROWMARK, the 12-week summer program offers a wide range of opportunities for students based on their areas of interest and fields of study in the agriculture industry, including agronomy, seed, marketing, energy, accounting and more.

Schone said he won't know exactly what agronomy-related summer project he'll be tackling during his internship at Prairieland FS, but he knows he'll be presenting his final project at the end of his internship program in Bloomington, IL.

"I will not receive my summer project assignment until the internship begins, but other jobs I will be involved in include delivering seed and chemicals to customers, scouting fields throughout the summer to check growth and potential threats to the crops and in general, helping with day-to-day operations at Prairieland FS," he explained.

"I feel this internship will be an incredibly beneficial opportunity," Mixer added. "It will make me a more valuable employee by further developing my skills in, and knowledge of, the ag industry. I also think it will challenge me and push me to grow as an agriculture student, as well as help shape my future professional life."

Baker noted in the internship programs students develop time-management, communication, collaboration and technical skills, all valuable for securing future employment.

"Companies are demanding students possess agricultural experiences related to their fields of study in order to secure higher paying positions when they graduate. Most GROWMARK interns have job offers from the parent company at the completion of their internships, so it's a win-win situation for everyone involved," he added.

Piepenbrink said qualified students interested in GROWMARK's paid summer internship program can apply online for the position(s) in which they are interested.

"Additionally, we always encourage students to meet with GROWMARK representatives when we are on campus for career fairs to learn more about our internship opportunities prior to applying online," she noted.

More information about the internship program is available at www.growmark.com/OurCareers/Pages/home.aspx. According to Piepenbrink, qualified candidates will be contacted for a phone interview and, if applicable, a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager.

For information about the School of Agriculture, contact Baker at (309) 298-1080 or via email at AJ-Baker@wiu.edu. Learn more at wiu.edu/ag.

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (TE-Koltzenburg@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations