ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University graduate Melissa Propst has always loved working with people, but she also enjoys working with numbers.
Her human resources job at South Dakota Wheat Growers ties those two passions together. It was an internship at Wheat Growers in Aberdeen that helped her figure out human resources was a good fit.
“I would’ve never applied for an HR job (before the internship),” Propst said.
The Clear Lake native, who graduated in May with a degree in finance and a minor in economics, started as an intern at Wheat Growers in 2009. She has now been hired there full time.
NSU students have been interning at Wheat Growers since 2007, and the relationship has worked well, said Scott Peterson, NSU’s director of business internships. Wheat Growers employees agree.
“We like having those NSU interns,” said Judy Stulken, vice president, human resources and organizational development.
Students can intern in numerous areas at Wheat Growers, from agronomy to accounting, and schedules can be just as varied. Some students have worked the standard semester, while others have interned for multiple years – internships are what the student and employer want them to be, Peterson said.
For instance, Amanda Vogel had been working for Wheat Growers prior to seeking internship credit, and an arrangement was reached where her duties and responsibilities were increased for the internship. Now, the Ipswich native, who graduated this spring with an accounting degree, is working full time in accounting.
Kimberly Anderson started out as a temporary employee in summer 2010. The following summer, she took internship credit. The Warner native, who just graduated with a double major in finance and economics and a minor in accounting, started in grain analysis and later moved to accounting.
Peterson said the internship is a bridge between academics and the professional world.
“In the end, the academic credit is secondary,” he said. “What's important is the experience.”
Experience is what Luke Hauert and Jennifer Kilber hope to gain at Wheat Growers. Hauert, a Stickney native majoring in professional accountancy and finance at NSU, recently started an accounting internship. He said the university makes it really easy to find internships and jobs.
Kilber, a senior marketing major from Ipswich, recently started as a marketing intern.
“I’m excited,” she said. “This is going to be a fun job.”