July 2 2014 01:30 PM

All 6 DJM Finalists have summer internships in their career field.

Last Saturday, six outstanding youth were recognized for their Holstein projects and named National Distinguished Junior Member Finalists, the highest honor given by the Holstein Association USA. Announced in Dubuque, Iowa, at the Junior Awards Luncheon, the winners were Hayleigh Geurink, Michigan; Sara Kitchen, Pennsylvania; Cassandra Krull, Wisconsin; Jaylene Lesher, Pennsylvania; Ryan Pralle, Wisconsin and Josh Simon, Iowa.
2014 National Distinguished Junior Holstein Members

2014 National Distinguished Junior Members: Hayleigh Geurink,
Jaylene Lesher, Ryan Pralle, Josh Simon, Sara Kitchen, Cassandra Krull

While the judges evaluate their past dairy and leadership achievements, they also inquire about the young person's thoughts and ideas on the industry. By having internships, these young adults receive unique glimpses into the industry and career options. Here are the internships they are enjoying this summer.

Hayleigh Geurink, Michigan State University, aspires to be a journalist for a national dairy publication and is interning with Dairy Agenda Today.

A career in dairy communications, marketing and public relations is the goal of Sara Kitchen. She's a student at Penn State and is spending her summer at Filament Marketing in Madison, Wis.

With the goal of owning her own farm of Registered Holsteins, Cassy Krull is learning about the artificial insemination industry as a marketing and communications intern with Accelerated Genetics. Cassy will be a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the fall.

Jaylene Lesher, a student at Penn State is also spending her summer far from home. She's working at Rosy-Lane Holstein in Wisconsin, with a particular interest in their embryo transfer program. Learning from others will help Jaylene broaden her knowledge as she plans to be a herd manager, and eventually have her own dairy in the future.

Research and academia is the career path for Ryan Pralle. He's working as a research intern at his home campus of University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying gene expression with cows with ketosis and fatty liver disease.

Josh Simon, Iowa State University, wants to design and manufacture dairy equipment. He's an engineering intern this summer with DuPont Pioneer and completed an internship last summer with Kuhn North America.

In addition, other DJM semifinalist are interns this summer in pharmaceutical sales, 4-H and extension work, and market research in the nutrition field.

While an internship is not required at all universities, they can provide valuable learning experiences and opportunities. The National Dairy Shrine maintains a list of dairy internships on their website. Over 70 internships are listed in 7 different disciplines. It's never to early to start planning for next summer.

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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.