2018 NCBA Convention Internship: Warm Weather and Great People
Not many college students choose to miss an entire week of classes. Or, maybe they do (sometimes college is rough.) Either way, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a 2018 NCBA Convention Intern and it was one of the most memorable weeks of my life.
What Did I Do?If you aren't familiar with NCBA, it stands for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Each year NCBA hosts a huge industry convention and trade show made for anyone involved in the beef cattle industry; ranchers, producers, animal health specialists and communicators. As one of the eighteen interns, it was my responsibility to make sure each attendee had a safe and enjoyable time at the Phoenix Convention Center. There were days I helped scan name badges for admittance to events, days I helped set up arenas and bleachers and there were days with unexpected tasks. The chaos of being an intern and running around the Convention Center was part of the experience. It's honestly difficult to summarize it in one sentence. How's that for a resume builder?
One of the best things I experienced was near the end of my time in Phoenix. I was the lucky intern to be assigned to work with the Cattlemen to Cattlemen crew on Thursday while they were shooting a Q & A panel for their show. It was amazing to see how much equipment and detail went into prepping the shoot. I saw the real-world way of how lighting and camera angles and microphones are utilized. It was total bliss for me and I really can't thank the NCBA staff and the crew enough for letting me tag along.
Who Did I Meet?They don't call this the biggest cattle meet up in the industry for no reason...this event was massive and it wasn't even the biggest yet! Off the bat, and likely most importantly, I had the amazing chance to interact with students from across the nation. I went to Phoenix as an Indiana girl with excitement in her gut and came home with seventeen new friends and a deeper love for the cattle industry. It's great, I know. But in all seriousness, the other interns I interacted with truly made my experience unbelievable.
Outside of being added to a large Snapchat group (shout out to The Dream Team!) I also had the opportunity to meet many industry professionals from a variety of companies and operations. A major benefit of internships like this one is having time to network with individuals who work directly in your dream industry. However, interestingly enough, one of the most intriguing people I spoke with was a man there to evaluate different trade show booths. He and I talked for a good twenty minutes about his job. You never know what you'll learn when you start a conversation.
I also finally met one of my coolest social media pals, Charmayne. She and I had connected on Twitter many months, possibly even a year, before the convention. We were both participating in a Twitter chat known as #agchat when we "met" online. She actually runs NCBA's social media accounts, so we had a lot of geeky social media stuff to talk about. It was awesome.
Oh, I also met the Pioneer Woman. Very casual.
What was Phoenix Like?Like most big conferences, I was mostly running around the convention center for all the events. So I didn't get to experience the city a lot, but there were a few chances to explore. On our first night in Arizona, we found ourselves at the cutest little restaurant/hang out spot called The Duce. Later in the week, we traveled to a local ranch and rodeo and on our last day, we walked through the city to find a place to eat. My trip to Arizona may not have been a vacation per say, but I definitely enjoyed the sunshine while I was there; February in Phoenix is a lot nicer than February in Indianapolis. Watch the travel diary here!
All I can say is this experience was awesome and I'd highly recommend other college students to find a convention internship or a similar short-term intern position. You learn a lot, do a lot and smile a lot within such a short timeframe.
P.S. Huge shout out to Grace for being an awesome "intern mom" and letting me enjoy this opportunity. You rock!