Student stories: Ireland internship offers international ag connection

Growing up on a fruit and vegetable farm in Brookville, Pa., Becky Seigworth spent most of her time working at the family retail market where she developed a love of agriculture. But an internship in Ireland opened up a world of opportunities for the recent graduate from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"Agriculture plays a central role in the world's economy and is fundamental to life itself," Seigworth said. "I have always been involved with the production side of the industry and wanted to see more of the business side."

Seigworth, who majored in Agribusiness Management and minored in Horticulture, traveled to Dublin, Ireland, where she immersed herself in the business of international agriculture as an agriculture strategist for the Allied Irish Bank. "My internship responsibilities included examining new market developments for 'green' business opportunities, exploring options for the bank's presence at agricultural trade shows in Ireland and supporting the distribution of the bank's publication for farming customers," she said.

Seigworth knew she was prepared for her internship, which was arranged through the College of Agricultural Sciences."Thanks to my education at Penn State, I was well equipped to complete the real-world tasks I was given by the team manager at the bank," she said. "At times, I even surprised myself at the questions about U.S. agribusiness I could answer."

Seigworth is now the director of economic services at the Fertilizer Institute in Washington, D.C., where she works on economic issues ranging from nutrient-use-efficiency programs to climate-change policy.

"Working in the strategy division at Allied Irish Bank helped me to develop a very critical and innovative entrepreneurial mindset," said Seigworth. The experience also helped her to gain a stronger understanding of European agriculture, a lesson that proved valuable when she started at the Fertilizer Institute and quickly recognized the global nature of agriculture.

"The United States is the largest importer of fertilizer in the world," she explained. "I now realize just how connected we are to other nations.

"I wholeheartedly believe that without the opportunities made available through the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State I would not be where I am today," Seigworth said. "Studying abroad in Ireland and my internship with Allied Irish Bank gave me the experience and insight I needed to be successful in the workplace."

 

 

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Last Updated November 18, 2010