AGademics: How Wayne-Sanderson Farms Summer Interns Learn about Agriculture both Inside and Outside the Classroom

Growing up on a farm, agriculture was a constant in nearly every aspect of Elizabeth Claire Scheppler’s life including being an active member of her local 4-H and Future Farmers of America chapters. Now an agricultural science major and poultry science minor at Texas A&M University, it is difficult for Scheppler to envision a future for herself that doesn’t include agriculture.

“To say ag runs through my veins would be an understatement,” said Scheppler. “Most people want to get as far away from agriculture as they can when they go to college, but that was certainly not the case for me. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be involved in the ag industry for the rest of my life. Being a woman in agriculture is one of my favorite things, and I cannot wait to make my impact.”

During college, Scheppler was exposed to many aspects of agriculture, including some that she was not aware of despite her upbringing around the industry. “When I went to college, I realized all of the endless possibilities there are for careers in the ag industry,” said Scheppler.

It wasn’t until Scheppler pursued a summer job after completing her freshman year of college that she was able to narrow her focus on a specific aspect of agriculture, the poultry industry. That summer job just happened to be a quality control technician at Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ Palestine, Texas processing facility.

“I thought a long time about where I wanted to work that summer because I wanted it to be something that would benefit me in the long run as an experience and also be something in the agriculture field where my future career would be,” said Scheppler. “I knew working at this company would be hard work, but I also knew that it would be really rewarding and an amazing experience for my future. That summer changed my future forever, and I knew I wanted to dive deeper into this company and see where my future could be, so I applied for their internship program.”

Scheppler was accepted into Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ summer internship program and has spent her summer soaking up as much knowledge as possible at the company’s Bryan, Texas processing facility. “My favorite aspect of the internship so far has been getting the opportunity to see how chicken is processed from the time it is unloaded from the truck until it is in a box and loaded on another truck headed to its final destination,” said Scheppler. “I think this is an experience that very few people get to say they’ve had, and I love being able to see where the food that we eat comes from and just how much work, technology and thought goes into every single aspect of poultry processing. You can read and hear about the industry a million times, but getting real-world experience is an invaluable opportunity.”

Wayne-Sanderson Farms’ summer internship program is a paid, 10-week internship program that allows students to gain real-world experience, develop professionally, learn about the poultry industry and earn opportunities for full-time employment with the company. As an intern, students have the opportunity to work in four key areas of the company’s business, which are live production, processing, prepared foods and corporate administration.

“I would absolutely recommend the internship program to other students,” said Scheppler. “This opportunity has been a once in a lifetime experience and every day has grown me both as a person and as a woman wanting to make an impact on the agriculture industry. Not only are the people in this company amazing, but the fact that it is a paid internship is also a really amazing bonus.”

After her experience working at Wayne-Sanderson Farms, Scheppler is confident her future is in the poultry industry and she looks forward to the opportunity to make an impact. “I knew from the time I finished my summer job as a quality control technician that I could really see myself pursuing a career with this company, and having the opportunity to do this internship has definitely validated and confirmed my future career plans, hopes and aspirations,” said Scheppler. “This internship has been one of the neatest experiences of my life, and I could truly see myself flourishing and thriving in this company.”