Sterling Schnepf Internship

Name: 
Sterling Schnepf
Major: 
Animal Science
Year: 
Senior
Hometown: 
Granville, IA
Company/Organization: 
Elanco Animal Health, Poultry Field Staff Representative
Location: 
Athens, GA

Describe your internship responsibilities:
Through my role as a poultry field staff representative, I was responsible for three poultry accounts in North Georgia.  I visited each account roughly every other week to first better understand their business and secondly understand their strengths and weaknesses.  After better understanding these two things, I would help enhance the accounts production by selling products and offering services.  Throughout the summer I was able to partake in necropsy sessions, barn visits as well as feed mill assessments. I also was responsible for contacting and receiving all poultry customers medicated feed mill licenses throughout the summer.

What did you enjoy most about this internship?
What I enjoyed most was being able to experience the business side of the industry.  As an animal science major, most of my core classes are focused on science, not business.  During the summer I was able to focus in on the business aspects including calculating what feed conversion is worth, returns on investments and profit and loss margins.  Because I have never worked in the poultry industry before either, I enjoyed experiencing a different production system. The poultry industry as a whole is very integrated making it unique compared to other systems.  At the end of the summer, I was able to have a great appreciation for this industry and how it operates.  Being able to work from Georgia compared to Iowa was an eye-opening experience and also gave me a greater appreciation for agriculture outside Iowa.

How has this experience impacted your future career plans?
I have always been interested in sales and I got to experience that this summer. Learning the business side of the industry will also be influential in helping me make business decisions in the animal industry in the future.  Through the feed mill assessments I attended, I enjoyed seeing how the mills operated and how this related to animal nutrition.  Because of this experience, I would like to focus on animal nutrition and am looking at pursuing my Masters in swine nutrition.

What resources did you utilize to obtain this internship?
I worked with Mike Gaul at career services to build up my resume.  After visiting Elanco at the career fair, I was then asked to interview.  I worked with my advisor, Dr. Curt Youngs, to prepare me for the questions.

What advice would you offer to other students seeking similar internships?
I would tell other students to step outside of their comfort zone and challenge themselves a bit. You may be surprised that something you never thought you were going to do is what you enjoyed the most.  I thought that I was always going to work in the swine industry and seeing a different industry gives you a greater appreciation for different sectors of agriculture.  Also, ask lots of questions. This was the one main take away I had from the summer.  It is always better to know the right answer than assume something that you already think you know.