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Summer at Cooperative Extension taught me a lot

Camping fun

Submitted photo Laruen Gibson, back left, with the cake decorating class this summer.

My name is Lauren S. Gibson and I attend Early College High School at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s South Campus. I have spent this summer as an intern with Rowan Cooperative Extension, where I have been introduced to amazing agents and staff support.

With help from Amy-Lynn Albertson, Danélle Cutting, Morgan Watts, Toi Degree, Matthew McClellan, Brooke Peeler and Melva Menius, I have gained knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. Throughout the summer, I worked closely with two other interns, Olivia Horning and Andrew Morrow. We have gone through this journey together, learned from each other and helped each other when needed.

Albertson, county director, was our guide throughout this internship with advice on how to approach our superiors, how to request a leave of absence, how offices work, and how it feels to be treated as an equal individual in the work space.

Cutting, horticulture/local foods agent, taught us endless information on how to garden, how to plant, the state of North Carolina, various plants and insects, how to harvest rhubarb, how to read soil tests and so many more fun agricultural life skills. In addition, she gave us the opportunity to create videos and write newspaper articles for the Salisbury Post.

Watts, livestock/crops agent, discussed Rowan County statistics, livestock and crops with us at length. She also helped me through a radio recording for a 4-H Summer Fun camp.

Degree, family consumer sciences agent, guided us through cooking in the kitchen, judging culinary presentations during a 4-H Summer Fun camp and had us research food and video ideas.

McClellan, 4-H youth development agent, let the interns create and orchestrate a 4-H Summer Fun camp called “Make It and Take It.” Brooke Peeler, staff support, and Melva Menius, administrative support, showed us what it is like to do office tasks with stuffing envelopes, folding papers, shredding and more.

Some of the most memorable activities with Extension included: creating and orchestrating a 4-H Summer Fun camp, judging a 4-H shotgun and rifle shooting contest and then shooting a rifle at the end, as well as other 4-H camps where I have learned various new skills, helping with Lunch & Learn programs, planting a no-till garden, planting a teaching orchard, getting to see a massive Linden Basswood tree that is home to a gargantuan amount of bees, learning about GMOs and the numerous agricultural aspects our environment and state contain, and most importantly, being taught by amazing agents and going through an internship that I never expected to go through.

I have never been one for agriculture or farming, but going through this internship, I have learned so many interesting factoids that are necessary to life and different living conditions. I was a little skeptical about what I would go through in this internship because it is out of my comfort zone and went over things I barely had any knowledge base on.

Now that I am at the end of it, I can happily say I enjoyed my role here. I enjoyed working with and learning from these agents and fellow interns. I greatly appreciate the knowledge and skills I have gained on the agricultural side of life. The amount of information I have retained in one summer as an intern with Cooperative Extension has exceeded my expectations. Thank you to all of the agents; I am glad I was given the opportunity to meet you and learn from you.

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