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Dairy internships to help prepare students for jobs

Animal science majors will soon have a head start in finding a job after graduation. To provide more hands-on experience for students, the animal science department will begin an internship program for those who want to pursue a career in the dairy industry.

The internship program, which will be available to students by next summer with positions all over New England, is part of the New England Regional Dairy Program, a network of New England agricultural universities.

The internships will teach students focused on dairy science how to manage dairy farms to maximize milk production, profits and the health of dairy cows, according to Ian Hart, head of the animal science department. The internships and careers in this field are not just limited to dairy farms, but offer a wide spectrum of opportunities within the dairy industry, he says.

"There is a whole range of possibilities for these students. Students can work in banks that finance dairy farms as advisors, or in pharmaceutical companies that cater to veterinary medicine," Hart says.

Lynn Brown, a retired dairy extension specialist at UConn who for many years advised Connecticut dairy farmers, will head the internship program. Brown's previous position as an extension specialist and his past relationship with the industry has helped generate industry support to hire and give students the needed experience to be better prepared when entering the job market, Hart says.

The variety of the internships available will help the students narrow down their career choices and provide practical experience that will benefit them after they graduate, he says. Businesses also will benefit by giving students the skills that they are looking for in full-time job candidates. The internships may lead to full-time employment after graduation, reducing the stress of job hunting for the graduate and the cost of training for the employer.

Eileen Labenski