As an animal and food science major, University of Delaware senior Kathryn Williams was looking for a summer internship that incorporated both of those elements. Luckily for Williams, her adviser, Lesa Griffiths, knew just the place.
Griffiths, professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, has a long history with the Herr company – based in nearby Nottingham, Pa., and a leader in the snack food industry — and she suggested that Williams apply for a summer internship.
Williams took the advice and met with Dennis Byrne, manager of the Herr Angus Farm and a UD alumnus who received the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Distinguished Alumni Award, and he offered her an internship on the spot.
Williams has now been working at the cattle farm since May 28, and said she is enjoying the hands-on experience the internship offers.
“I’m basically a farm hand — even though I’m technically the intern,” said Williams. “The first day I was thrown right in with everything. They were running cows through the shoot, doing a lot of medical checks and giving a lot of timed breeding shots. There was no, ‘Oh, you’re the intern, you can just sit and watch us.’ They put me right to work and it’s been great. I’m learning so much.”
Williams said that she usually arrives at the Herr farm around 8 a.m. and stays until 4 p.m. or later. Her daily routine consists of riding around the fields with her boss to check on the cows and make sure that they are well and, if not, bring them in for a medical check. She helps out with shots and other basic medical procedures, as well as lending a hand for any miscellaneous jobs that need to be performed — like fixing fences or mowing lawns.
One of her favorite parts of the internship has been learning to drive the tractors and getting to climb to the top of the silo.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, but there’s an enclosed ladder and it was worth it. I got to the top and got my camera out and was taking pictures,” said Williams.
Williams admitted that when she first took the internship, she did so in order to broaden her horizons, but now after working with beef cows for the summer, she can see herself doing it as a career. “Now that I’ve gotten into it, I’ve really enjoyed working with beef cows. It’s a lot different than working with dairy cows and I’ve actually come to enjoy it a lot more.”
And of course, interning at the Herr farm does have the added bonus of being close to their famous and flavorful potato chips, especially the salt and vinegar or the kettle cooked chips, which are Williams’ favorites.
Williams is preparing for a busy senior year, as she performs her duties in the Sigma Alpha sorority and serves as president of the Animal Science Club. But multi-tasking is nothing knew to Williams.
In addition to interning on the farm this summer, Williams also volunteers at Pet-Assisted Visitation Volunteer Services (PAWS) for People with her dog, Riley.
The organization visits nursing homes, hospitals and children’s hospitals and volunteers sit and talk with people one-on-one. Williams has been volunteering by visiting an adult day center, with Riley in tow.
“I’ve been visiting the one place for so long, I’ve developed relationships with each person, so I’m able to just sit and chat with them and they’ll sit there and pet Riley the whole time we’re talking, and it’s just really nice,” said Williams. “A lot of the time you get feedback from them, and it’s just so wonderful to see how much they enjoy it.”
Article by Adam Thomas
Photos by Danielle Quigley
Video by Adam Thomas and Danielle Quigley