College of Agricultural Sciences students receive internship awards

November 07, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Ten Penn State students have been selected as College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society 2014 Internship Award winners. The award, which includes a $940 stipend, was established to encourage students to participate in a credit or noncredit educational internship program that relates to their field of study.

"Internships provide important on-the-job learning and networking opportunities that give students a leg up in today's competitive job market," said Naomi Knaub, the college's director of alumni relations. "The Alumni Society is pleased to provide support and encouragement to students seeking these real-world experiences as we recognize the award winners for their excellent internship performance."

Internship Award winners are chosen on the basis of an internship plan, a final report, an employer evaluation and a letter of recommendation from their academic adviser. Following are the 2014 recipients:

-- Alexander Bickers, a wildlife and fisheries science major from Murrysville. A graduate of Franklin Regional High School, Bickers was an animal care intern for the Lehigh Valley Zoological Society in Schnecksville. He worked in the zoo's animal care department and gained hands-on experience with each of the zoo's animal exhibits, performing tasks such as cleaning, feeding, herding and preparing animal diets. He also gave daily educational talks to zoo visitors and answered their questions.

-- Jennifer Chelko, a toxicology major from Sarver. A graduate of Freeport Area High School, Chelko was a summer intern for Elanco Animal Health in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where she worked on a summer-long research project in a biochemistry/microbiology laboratory in the research and development department. She conducted experimental procedures in the lab, analyzed data and gained organizational skills. She also participated in the company's biweekly workshops.

-- Arianna De Reus, a community, environment and development major from Hollidaysburg. A graduate of Hollidaysburg Area High School, De Reus was an intern for the United States Army War College in Carlisle. Working in the school's Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, she was mentored by Dwight Raymond, a colonel who has served in Iraq. She learned about the role of the U.S. Army in international development and created scenario exercises, which the college's students now are using as educational tools.

-- Stacie Dixon, an animal science major from Philadelphia. A graduate of Alvin Swenson Arts & Technology High School, Dixon was an environmental education and animal behavior intern for the Philadelphia Zoo. She greeted and interacted with guests and answered visitors' questions each day, with a focus on providing an inspiring message of conservation. She also communicated with zookeepers and studied their interactions with exotic animals.

-- Alina Hess, a toxicology major from Media. A graduate of Penncrest High School, Hess was a summer intern in the research and development branch of GlaxoSmithKline in Upper Merion. Working in safety assessment with the Immunotoxicology Group, she was involved primarily in the preclinical testing stages of drugs and vaccines developed by the company. She collaborated with scientists and professionals on aspects of the drug production line, including marketing, advertising and procurement.

-- Delainey Loedding, an environmental resource management major from Williamsport. A graduate of Montoursville Area High School, Loedding was a research intern for the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee. She led several projects monitoring the center's newest branch, including conducting snake coverboard surveys and small mammal monitoring. She was responsible for creating a weekly schedule, coordinating with other volunteers and supervising high school students working at the center.

-- Carolyn McDonald, a community, environment and development major from Port Matilda. A graduate of State College Area High School, McDonald was a workforce development intern for the RTI International -- USAID/Haiti LEVE Project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. While working with several projects related to international development, she researched and created reports on construction fair trade models and curriculum for apparel and textile schools. She also performed a hotel demand study during which she conducted interviews in Haitian Creole and created reports and data sheets on her findings.

-- David Smilnak, an environmental resource management major from Hollidaysburg. A graduate of Hollidaysburg Area High School, Smilnak was an environmental education intern for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg. Working at the department's Environmental Education and Information Center, he was responsible for a variety of projects, such as presenting educational programs, developing informational exhibits and assisting with the Peregrine Falcon Watch and Rescue program. He also edited the center's Web pages.

-- Stephen Smith, an animal science major from Hawley. A graduate of Scranton Preparatory School, Smith was a summer intern for Maple Bottom Farm in Scottdale. His internship focused on researching whether or not A2 milk was a marketable product. He helped with all daily activities at the farm, including milking the herd and making hay. He also assisted a veterinarian with embryo transfers and in vitro fertilization procedures and spoke with local business owners about their potential interest in A2 milk.

-- Paige Smoyer, a food science major from McLean, Virginia. A graduate of Langley High School, Smoyer was a food safety intern for Food Directions LLC in Washington, D.C., where she was directly involved with all aspects of food policy, including food safety and nutrition-related issues. She worked on her own personal projects and also collaborated with the organization's nutrition intern and the rest of the Food Directions team. In addition, she attended a variety of events including USDA and FDA panel discussions.

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Last Updated November 07, 2014