Growing up on a California dairy farm, Katie Migliazzo knew she wanted a career in agriculture, but wasn’t sure what. After attending an ag career fair, Migliazzo had her answer: advocating for the dairy industry.
Her decision came after meeting with a representative from Elanco, a developer and manufacturer of products designed to improve animal health, about its summer internship program. Forty-eight students are chosen for the 12-week program, said Tom Heady, head of campus recruiting and onboarding for Elanco Animal Health. Interns are each assigned a project and conclude their internship by making a presentation to Elanco employees at the home office in Greenfield, Ind.
“I am learning so much about dairy advocacy and have such a passion for the industry,” said Migliazzo, who was assigned to work with dairies in northeast Wisconsin on their public outreach activities. “I work with customers on getting their message out, whether that’s giving tours at local farms or answering questions from the public at public events.”
“I’m not only learning a lot through my internship, but I am also building relationships and creating networking opportunities for the future,” she said.
For Elanco, the internship program is a 12-week “interview” where the company can see how a potential employee works and what role he or she could fill, Heady said.
Once the summer internships are complete, employees evaluate the interns’ work and make job offers if their abilities line up with openings, he said.
“With our interns, they do real work and projects. They are not just getting coffee,” Heady said. “They are working on real projects that bring value and at the end, they need to make a 30-minute in-depth presentation about what they did during the summer.”
Students are selected to work in three separate areas: sales, manufacturing and at the home office where the work is focused on research and development. Students pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees are all considered for the program.
In addition to working on their projects, students spend the first week of their internship in Greenfield learning about Elanco and also attend a mid-summer learning opportunity at headquarters where the interns learn about making presentations and other professional development skills.
Elanco also takes the interns to the Indiana State Fair during their final week.
“We really try to treat our interns right and hope they are having a good time while here,” Heady said.
Students selected for the intern program are paid and also receive a supplement to help pay for their summer housing. They are also paired with a mentor supervisor.
Sarah Englebert, a Madison-based account executive with Elanco, serves as Migliazzo’s mentor supervisor. She developed the project the intern is working on this summer and checks in weekly to see how it’s going.
“We talk about things she’s done well and what maybe she could have done better,” Englebert said. “I came up with the project, but it’s up to her to get it done. I gave her a lot of flexibility and independence to do it her way.”
This is Englebert’s first time serving as a mentor supervisor and saw her participation as a way to gain leadership skills.
“I’ve heard so many great things about Elanco’s internship program through the years and I’m excited to be a part of it,” she said.
Competition for Elanco’s intern positions is tough. Applicants meet first with an on-campus representative and then the top applicants are invited to a more thorough interview process at Elanco’s headquarters.
“We’re looking for students with leadership skills,” said Heady, adding that undergrad applicants must have at least a 3.0 grade point average.
Migliazzo initially applied for the Elanco internship after her sophomore year of college. That year, she was invited to Indiana for the next round of interviews, but did not get selected for the program.
“After that experience and being at the headquarters, I knew I wanted to be at Elanco so at the job fair the next year, I went right over to their booth and applied again,” she said. “This time, I made it.”
Migliazzo is enjoying her summer, helping dairies in Kewaunee and Outagamie counties. “I am doing such a wide variety of things. It’s really been a great experience,” she said.