Alyssa Dougherty

Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader for Food Security

Name: Alyssa Dougherty

Major: Dietetics & Global Resource Systems

Year: Junior

Hometown/State: Epworth, IA

Company/Organization: Land O’Lakes

Title: Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader for Food Security

Location: Arden Hills, Minnesota with travels to Washington D.C., Indiana, and Africa

Describe your internship responsibilities:

My internship included

  • Eight weeks at the corporate office in Arden Hills, MN  While at the Land O’Lakes headquarters, my two teammates and I investigated sustainability initiatives, goals, and challenges within college and university dining services.  Our project built personal relationships with our university foodservice directors and created recommendations for Land O’Lakes Sustain and Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods.
  • Two weeks in Malawi and South Africa  The emerging leaders and I visited projects supported by Land O’Lakes International Development. We visited a small hold farm, commercial farm, dairy cooperative, apple orchard, apple-sorting center, MSIKA answer plot, VILLA project center, and more. We also had the opportunity to go on a few safaris, visit Robben Island, and volunteer for Food Forward South Africa.
  • One week in Washington D.C.  We learned about agricultural professions and issues while visiting with policymakers, lobbyists, and other ambassadors for agriculture. The week also included meeting with our state representatives, volunteering at a soup kitchen, and visiting with anti-hunger advocates at a gala.
  • One week in Indiana  The ten emerging leaders split into pairs and visited various cooperatives around the country. My week with Ceres Solutions in Indiana included visits to a large-scale dairy operation, community-supported agriculture farm, fertilizer plant, feed mill, melon-sorting center, and more.

What did you enjoy most about this internship?  Hands down, my favorite part about this internship was the people.  My fellow interns were driven, passionate, and kind-hearted leaders who helped me become more well-rounded and informed.  In addition, I was inspired by the passion of every agriculturist we met; whether it was a farmer in Africa, policymaker in D.C., or Land O'Lakes employee, they empowered and equipped me to be an ambassador for agriculture.

How has this experience impacted your future career plans?  My summer internship completely altered my future plans and unlocked many doors.  The experience confirmed my pursuit of a career that combines my passion for international nutrition and agriculture, so I recently added a global resource systems major to my educational career.  As I look to the future, I hope to utilize the professional connections I have made to find more internships and job opportunities.

What resources did you utilize to obtain this internship?  First, Mike Gaul was an amazing resource who reviewed my resume, connected me with the internship manager, helped me practice for the interview, and allowed me to use the career service office for the online interview.  I also met with Land O’Lakes representatives at the career fair and Global Youth Institute.  Meeting and emailing previous interns helped me by extending advice and answering my application questions.

What advice would you offer to other students seeking similar internships?  My best advice for students seeking similar internships is to fearlessly pursue your passion.  Throughout the application process, I second-guessed my chance of getting the internship; however, my enthusiasm for the opportunity overcame my fear of failure. I encourage all students to apply for internships that spark excitement.  

My second piece of advice would be to surround yourself with students and mentors who have similar career interests and utilize their connections.  These friends have helped me with finding internships, preparing for interviews, and directly connecting me with internship employers.

Area of Expertise: 
Global Resource Systems