Image Credits: Courtesy of Victoria Pender
How She Got That Internship is a series that highlights conservative women’s internships in various organizations and positions to inspire the next generation of conservative women to lead. Did you, or a young woman that you know, have an internship experience you want to share with our readers? Submit it in this form and we will contact you if we think it would be a great fit for the series.
Summer is perhaps the best time for young leaders to invest in themselves by gaining valuable work experience, namely through internships. FFL is sitting down with a number interns to reflect on this year’s highlights and encourage more young leaders to apply for next year’s internships.
Victoria Pender and graduated from NC State with a BS in Poultry Science in May of 2018. She grew up in Wake Forest, NC and has always had a love for agriculture and politics. Victoria is currently the Foundation Coordinator for Helicopter Association International. She moved to Washington, DC in July of 2018 and got her internship in August. Her other interests include photography and dance.
How did you find out about the position, and why did you decide to apply?
I found the position through a Facebook page for women in agriculture in the DC area. I joined the group when I moved to DC to help with looking for a job. A woman who worked for NASDA posted that they were in need of a policy intern and I applied right away!
What was the driving force behind choosing to work at as an intern for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture?
This was the perfect balance between policy and agriculture: my two passions. Throughout college, I struggled with how to connect these two and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.
Had you interned before? If so, where?
I interned with Cobb-Vantress, a poultry company as well as with Senator Tillis’ office as his agriculture policy intern.
Describe a typical day at your internship.
My daily tasks included answering phones and sitting at the front desk, keeping the office straight, getting the mail and greeting visitors. I also worked directly with the policy team with any projects they needed help with like writing articles for the newsletter, listening in on meetings and teleconferences and preparing for their annual meeting in Hartford, CT
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture?
Being able to see the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. Most of my internship was helping with articles and projects revolving around the passage of the bill. Being able to end my internship with its passage was very rewarding. I was also able to work with the next generation students at the annual meeting. Being able to help the college students through the meeting and become a resource was great and I still keep up with them today.
What was the biggest WOW moment of your internship?
I was able to travel to Hartford, CT and Spokane, WA. I attended the Tilth Farm conference in Spokane and the NASDA Annual Meeting in Hartford. While in CT, I was able to meet Agriculture Secretary Perdue, who is one of my political inspirations.
Looking back over your time in the internship, what’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a result of your time working for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture?
I was able to learn how state and federal governments work together better. One of NASDA’s priorities is cooperative federalism and seeing that interaction was very beneficial going forward.
Would you apply to work at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture again, and what advice would you give to future applicants?
I would! It was a great experience and the people there were very willing to work with me and help me have the best experience. I would give future applicants the advice of not being afraid to step out of their comfort zone. While I love agriculture, those who are not familiar may never apply to a position like this. Agriculture is a very interesting area in politics. It encompasses a lot of issues including immigration, trade, international relations and the economy.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I want to thank NASDA for the experience and encourage people to apply for one of their two internship!