Animal Science Junior, Katie Arndt, grew up on a farrow-to finish farm and knows pigs. When she started looking at internship opportunities, she wanted to move as far away from her home state, Illinois, and work in anything that did not include pigs. It turns out that was not in Katie's cards. Katie took an internship working for Historic Wagner Farm in Cook County, Illinois. Located on the outskirts of Chicago, this 18.6 acre farm is one of the last working dairy farms in Cook county and is open to the public for recreation and learning. In addition to the cows in the pasture, Historic Wagner Farm has chickens, draft horses, sheep and pigs as well as a restored farmhouse and barn and the award-winning Historic Wagner Farm Heritage Center.
As an intern she performed chores for all of the animals and helped with fair preparations and 4-H training sessions for sheep and pigs. She honed her people skills working with the public, kids, parents, and staff and learned how to be a a better communicator by tailoring her presentations to the specific audience. Working at the Wagner farm taught Katie how to work under pressure and solve problems on her own and how to jump out of the comfort zone.
Katie learned a lot over the course of the summer but was surprised when animal rights activists showed up at the farm on a daily basis. Katie had to learn how to polish her PR skills fast by being able to think on her feet, be cognizant of word choices and be very aware of her surroundings. This was a skill she wasn't expecting to learn but is very glad she did and now feels like she can conquer anything.