Applications open for 2021 USDA internships at UK

December 16, 2020

2019 UK intern Hannah York, right, teaches fellow interns from left: McKaylee Copher, Bella Usenza, Gina Merzbacher and Kayla Shelton how to calibrate a Gandy fertilizer spreader. Photo courtesy of Carrie Knott, UKREC director.

By: Katie Pratt

Undergraduate students interested in expanding their knowledge of production agriculture and pest management can apply for a hands-on research internship next summer with the University of Kentucky Grain and Forage Center of Excellence.

“Sustainable grain and forage production rely on a well-trained and experienced workforce,” said Carrie Knott, director of the UK Research and Education Center and internship coordinator. “This hands-on internship will enhance concepts students are learning in the classroom, as traditional ‘textbook examples’ rarely occur in the field, and better prepare them for rewarding careers.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates summer internship program allows students to complete meaningful projects in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Internships are based at either the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton or at UK’s main campus in Lexington.

Students can choose from projects in plant pathology, entomology, and plant and soil sciences. Interns will take ownership of the project and learn from UK scientists how to conduct scientific research, analyze their findings and use their data to develop a professional research poster and report. They will present their findings during the UK Corn, Soybean and Tobacco Field Day in July in Princeton. In addition to conducting research, they will increase their understanding of the Cooperative Extension Service.

The 12-week internship for 2021 will run from May 17 through Aug. 13 and will follow current COVID-19 guidelines. It is open to any undergraduate student, including incoming freshmen and recent graduates, studying at any U.S. university.

The internship is highly competitive with only 12 applicants selected. Funding from the USDA REEU will provide selected interns with a stipend and housing allowance.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 15. The application is available online at or by contacting Knott at, Kiersten Wise, UK extension plant pathologist, at or Erin Haramoto, UK weed scientist, at

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