By: Jamee Bell, ASAS Science Policy Intern
July 28, 2016 – Jamee Bell was one of the ASAS Science Policy Interns in Washington DC. Here is her reflection upon ending her tenure on the Hill:
So many things have contributed to the success of my science policy internship— predominantly the opportunity. I would like to thank the American Society of Animal Science and the congressional office that I interned with for providing students with the opportunity to learn firsthand and to gain practical knowledge in whatever field of agriculture that they choose to explore.
My passion for agriculture began when I was just a freshman in high school. I was accepted into the James Madison Agriscience Magnet Program where I began to study agriculture. I went into college knowing what I wanted to study and had already gained four years of meaningful, hands-on, practice.
Fast forward to completing my internships and earning a degree after studying agriculture for nearly ten years, I reflect on what prepared me to be successful in my internships and there are three things that immediately stand out to me: an ability to effectively communicate, an understanding of my field, and a willingness to continually learn. My predominant role as an ASAS Science Policy Intern was communication— communicating with leaders within the organization, with members, and readers. Within my congressional office, communicating well with office staff, members of congress, and especially constituents was a key aspect of performing well. What prepared me to communicate well with others, was my experience in customer service. A job as simple as managing the front desk at a water park resort taught me how to be patient, to ask the right questions to find solutions, and to have proper decorum. Another major aspect of interning for the American Society of Animal Science as a Science Policy Intern is understanding what major or current issues agriculturalists are facing and finding sources that you may continually refer to in order to remain informed.
Although I spent a majority of my internship studying crop insurance rather than an animal science based issue, I was able to attend briefings and find resources that I could learn more from. In retrospect, I would have chosen an animal science related issue to follow throughout my internship and covered that issue in my previous editorials. However, most importantly, my foundation had been established and my willingness to learn was ever-present. Although crop insurance was not a familiar topic to me, the experience has diversified my agricultural knowledge and has taught me that there is more to agriculture than livestock.
My advice to prospective interns: make the absolute most of your internship, because the effort that you sow into your internship experience will be what you reap from it. I would encourage future interns to utilize the resources that are available to you, challenge yourself, and you will find success.