Center Seeks Students For Summer Internship Program
The Center for Rural Studies at Sam Houston State University is accepting student applications through March 21 for the 2014 Texas Rural Internship Program.
|Last summer's TRIP interns visited Texas Department of Agriculture Headquarters in Austin, where they were able to meet TDA representatives. Pictured, from the left, are Rick Rhodes (TDA), Becky Dempsey (TDA), Victoria Orsak, David Bessette, Keldon Shepherd, Ednisha Peel, Matthew Trader, Lindsey Bushnell, Diana Alvarado (TDA), and Michael West (TDA). Also a 2013 intern, but not pictured, is Sir James Offord II. —Submitted photo|
The program, now in its sixth year, introduces college students to rural Texas by inviting them to live and work in a community as part of a summer internship.
Interns are paired with prospective communities, where they perform a variety of tasks that benefit that community, by the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Center for Rural Studies.
The goal of TRIP is to provide much-needed interaction between urban and rural Texas; promote rural Texas to attract and retain a talented workforce; help develop some of today's talented college students into tomorrow's leaders; and cultivate ambassadors for rural Texas, according to Cheryl Hudec, associate director for Center for Rural Studies.
The internship is open to undergraduate and graduate students from any academic background. Interns are paid a stipend and are eligible to receive college credit.
“The TRIP provides uniquely productive summer internships to serve the needs of both students and rural communities,” Hudec said. “Participating communities have benefitted from this program through fresh perspectives and talents from participating interns.”
Interns have been able to gain hands-on experience in working with local governments, economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, non-profit organizations, or local vendors.
Participants have come from different academic backgrounds, including political science, public administration, history, business and finance, management and marketing, communication studies, family and consumer sciences, education, agriculture and industrial sciences, criminal justice, psychology, and sociology.
Through the internship, these students have been able to apply their vast knowledge within these academic areas, as well as their technical and computer skills and working knowledge of social networking, according to Hudec.
“This entire experience has allowed me to see the world in a different light,” said Kamesha Walker, a 2011 rural intern, who worked in Giddings. “It has given me new experiences I never dreamed of.”
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“It was interesting to see how a community works by helping each other out and how the chamber helps the local businesses,” said Lindsay Byrd, a 2010 rural intern, who worked in Levelland. “I think a lot of people my age don’t think about that.”
In its six years, TRIP has paired more than 30 interns with more than 20 different communities across the state of Texas. This year is especially competitive with eight available internships in rural communities around the state, according to Hudec.
“As a Texas rural community, finding resources, especially college-level resources, is extremely challenging. Through the Texas Rural Internship Program, Nocona has made great strides in projects and programs because of the excellent students,” said James Yohe, executive director for the Nocona Economic Development Corporation. “We eagerly await additional opportunities to enlist these valuable people and their skills to promote rural Texas's and Nocona's future.”
“Hamilton has twice hosted one of the Texas Rural Internship Program interns,” said Jane Crouch, executive director for the Hamilton Economic Development Corporation. “The first year, the intern managed to electrify many of our local organizations. She creatively suggested and directed projects, including a grant proposal for the city’s park department and landscaping for the new sports complex, as well as providing assistance to the local Dove Festival.
“Our second intern had an incredibly broad experience. She did everything from accumulating data for an economic impact study for the largest employer, to shadowing and assisting local doctors and AgriLife Extension agents, to helping with fundraisers, to speaking at our local and district Lions Club meetings,” Crouch said. “Her expert computer skills were extremely valuable to a fine art gallery in Hamilton, helping them identify and list online the Ramsey Collection’s original masterpieces. The intern told us that, as a result of her experiences in Hamilton, she’s changed her major to business administration, a complement to our local business and economic development corporation.”
Applications for the internship can be found at shsu.edu/~org_crs/TRIP.html.
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