11 undergraduates intern with MU Extension

  • Published: Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Eleven undergraduates have been busy interning with University of Missouri Extension this summer as part of the MU Integrated STEM Internship Program. Interns work with a research mentor on the MU campus and also support extension programming around the state.

The goal of the nine-week program is to help prepare students for careers or graduate studies in areas related to agriculture, rural communities, food production, health and nutrition, says Rebecca Mott, MU assistant teaching professor of agricultural education and leadership. The program also seeks to raise students’ awareness about extension as a career opportunity.

Mott says seven MU mentors have spent a great deal of time working side-by-side with the interns this summer: Mandy Bish and Peng Tian (plant science); Ben Brown (agricultural economics); Jollyn Tyryfter, Kelsey Weitzel and Kristen Miller (health and nutrition); and Tawnie DeJong (animal science). Many other regional and state extension professionals have also interacted with the interns and contributed to their learning, Mott says.

MU student Jennah Klein, of Colorado, worked with Mandy Bish in crop health and production this summer. “I have been helping out with many different research projects such as spore traps, soil core sampling to identify soybean cyst nematodes and herbicide impact on earthworms,” says Klein, who is majoring in environmental science with an emphasis in education and outreach. “My work specifically is analyzing data from a 2021 survey sent out to row crop producers in Missouri and their utilization of MU Extension’s resources. The survey shows where MU Extension is thriving and where we can update communication and outreach to meet the needs of our producers.”

Chloe Sims, an MU animal science major from Mexico, Mo., describes her experience: “This internship has solidified my interests and career choice in the animal health field. I have learned new skills and polished skills already known which I will be able to use in my future career. I enjoy being able to do something different every day, all while contributing to the betterment of animal production practices and herd health. My biggest takeaway has been how impactful MU Extension is to the public. Other than working with animals, I greatly enjoy helping and educating others. Throughout this internship I have noticed that extension is a perfect combination of both. Extension takes research and collaboration from the university and expands it across the state to improve agricultural practices.”

2022 MU Integrated STEM Internship Program scholars:

  • Dawshaia Herndon, Lincoln University
  • Leah Groene, Lincoln University
  • Chloe Sims, University of Missouri
  • Jacylyn Hutchison, Lincoln University
  • Keaton Calvin, University of Missouri
  • Lindsay Mills, Missouri Baptist University
  • Jennah Klein, University of Missouri
  • Maggie Fitzgerald, University of Missouri
  • Heath Brandt, University of Missouri
  • Iris DeSha, Lincoln University
  • Adam Slayton, University of Missouri

The MU Integrated STEM Internship Program began in 2019 with a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture obtained by Jo Britt-Rankin, Rebecca Mott and Todd Lorenz. For more information, visit muext.us/MU-ISIP.


Jennah Klein, a University of Missouri environmental science major, works in an MU research plot.

2022 MU Integrated STEM Internship scholars: Dawshaia Herndon, Leah Groene, Chloe Sims, Jacylyn Hutchison, Keaton Calvin, Lindsay Mills, Jennah Klein, Maggie Fitzgerald, Heath Brandt, Iris DeSha. Not pictured: Adam Slayton.

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