Sixteen summer interns from various colleges and universities recently completed summer internship opportunities at Cooper Farms, providing a fresh new perspective to multiple areas of the company.
COO Gary Cooper believes the interns are able to provide a fresh outlook on many processes and approaches.
“These internships are a great thing for not just the students, but also our management group,” said Cooper. “A large portion of our management team has been with the company for a long time, which is wonderful. The presence of these interns really helps us get a fresh and young view on things.”
Terry Wehrkamp, director of live production at Cooper Farms, believes internship opportunities are the perfect scenario to allow the student first-hand learning experience as they prepare to enter the workforce.
“One of the most important things a student can do during his education is to network with people and companies that afford opportunities in key interest areas,” he said. “Getting a foothold in a real production setting allows our interns to get to know the people and companies we work with. It’s invaluable to them as they enter the workforce.”
Interns were assigned to all areas of the company, such as live animal, food safety, technology and process improvement.
Nicole Pickard, an animal science major at The Ohio State University, worked as a quality services technician at the Van Wert Cooked Meats location. She believes this opportunity will help her in deciding the future of her career after college.
“I know much more now about meat science since entering this internship, which will help me greatly as I begin to decide my career path,” she said. “I’ve learned much more about how things work for the food science industry as a whole and will be able to take that with me as I enter the agricultural industry.”
This year’s intern class included: Cassie Yoder, Gabi Paxson (Purdue University), Jenna Pleiman, Emily Knapke (Wright State Lake Campus), Dan Becker, Nicole Pickard, Kalyn Strahley, Holly Schmenk (The Ohio State University), Claire Vincent (Michigan State University), Mallory Jurcevich (Northwest State Community College), Peyton Shroyer, Jordyn Merriman (University of Findlay), Jake Hemmelgarn (Uni¬versity of Cincinnati), Logan Bradford, Jarod Keller (University of Toledo) and Faith Homan (University of Dayton)