Taylor Takes on Hardin County

An internship, out of county, without anyone I knew… Could I do this? My name is Taylor McNamara, a soon to be Business Management graduate from Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) with a specialization in Agriculture. My last step before graduation was the completion of a summer internship. After a few months of looking for an internship, Annie Mead, Logan County’s 4-H and Youth Development Extension Educator, gave me the contact for Hardin County’s Extension office. I began contacting Mark Light and next thing I knew I was meeting him to discuss a potential internship. After meeting with him I was thrilled about all the different opportunities I could experience in one summer.

Coming from Logan County to Hardin County, I did not know what to expect13516406_10153547506932016_634984317641732693_n from their extension program. All I had every known was the way that Logan County ran things. I asked myself if I could do an internship out of county, daily, worried that I could not succeed at a job where I knew no one. I am definitely shy when meeting new people, and I am afraid to go out and do things alone. A week before my internship I panicked; I almost decided I would much rather not graduate than to have to face my fears. Looking back, I do not know why I was so worried; the people at Hardin County Extension’s office are so friendly and helpful.

On the night befor13335675_10153903673548192_5204421650321027023_ne my first day, I did not know what to wear. Do I wear a dress or skirt? Are dress pants okay? What about a nice shirt? I chose what I was comfortable in, dress pants and a nice shirt. I showed up for my internship ten minutes early the next morning and sat in my car telling myself I just had to get through the 450 hour requirement for my class. I could do this! 8 o’clock hit and it was time to head in. I walked in the door and was greeted right away, then shown around. A little later I began my first task, a 4-H camp letter mailing. Before I knew it, the day was over and I was more than ready for the next.

A day in extension is never the same. One day I was out in the field counting soybeans and the next I was facilitating a cake decorating workshop. There is never a dull moment. Throughout the summer I have learned about the differences between Hardin and Logan County’s extension programs, which gives me a greater perspective on OSU extension as a whole. The large amount of programming and staffing in Hardin County has been a new experience, and I have enjoyed banding together Logan and Hardin County ideas. Every day I am able to do something new and meet new people. I am so grateful for the experiences I have been given and for being pushed out of my comfort zone. Here I am today, with 430 hours completed. This internship has been a huge stepping stone to finding my ideal career path.

One Spark is all it Takes

“It never hurts to ask.”  My name is Tina Hiller, a senior year English education student at The Ohio State University, and “It never hurts to ask” is the mentality I assumed when asking Hardin County OSU Extension if they needed summer assistance.  I was a 4-H’er in Hardin County for 10 years of my youth, and after a particularly heavy semester of coursework at OSU, I sought a job shadowing experience with Mark Light, Hardin County’s 4-H and Youth Development Extension Educator, to assess extension education as a possible career path. During winter break of my sophomore year, I job shadowed Light and other Hardin Co. extension educators in hopes that I would either be comforted that I chose the correct major or firmly directed toward a new route of study.

In one eig13256127_10153463339647016_1167093177374486400_nht hour work day, I assisted a morning preschool class, built robots with middle and high school classroom students, and aided an elementary after school program. In between working around the county with these three different age groups, I interviewed extension educators about their daily duties.  The fulfillment I felt at the end of that day drove me to inquire about the need for summer workers.  To my knowledge, the extension office had not previously utilized college student summer help, but Light and I had a good relationship from my previous 4-H years, so it did not phase me to simply ask.  I expected a “We’ll see” or an “I’ll call you when I find out more”, but a couple of months later, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a job application.

13434716_10153515418542016_3284263773112641917_n            That winter, Light was applying for a grant to fund Hardin Co. Extension’s Spark Lab, a new and innovative educational space for community use. When the grant was approved, partial funding went toward payment for two summer interns. Bailey Wagner, an agriscience education student at Ohio State, and I were official summer interns for summer 2015 and were able to increase office productivity, create new extension programming, and help design the Spark Lab. This summer, the Spark Lab grant provided employment for three interns, who have expanded Hardin Co. Extension’s reach even more!

Now I work as a second year 4-H and youth development intern.13626561_10154002071433005_4717326522482848602_n I absolutely love that this career path promotes applicable learning for all ages. While I consider the teen population my specialty, and plan to seek my first postgraduate position in a high school, the work I have conducted within Hardin Co.’s extension office has given me an invaluable foundation in experiential learning. I value learning at all stages of life, and hope my future position allows me to bring collaborative, community education to the classroom environment.