LINCOLN, NEB. – Katie Nolles of Bassett, Neb., recently wrapped up a summer in Washington D.C. as the most recent recipient of the Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award.
Nolles is a member of the Rock County Farm Bureau and is a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Agricultural Education. The Olsen Internship Award enabled her to intern in Congressman Adrian Smith’s office in Washington, D.C., this summer. The monetary award helped cover Nolles’ living and housing expenses.
“I was truly able to observe and be involved with all aspects of working on Capitol Hill. I loved learning about all of the moving pieces that go into making policy happen, applying what I learned in all of my coursework, and connecting with fellow constituents,” Nolles said Aug. 5.
Noells described her experience in Washington D.C. as a dream internship since her early teenage years. Admittedly, life in D.C. and working on Capitol Hill was an adjustment since she comes from a town of 600 people. But everyone was so helpful.
“Visiting with interns from offices across the country, I quickly found out how fortunate I was to have interned in an office where I got to visit with Congressman Smith regularly, where the staff trusted me with projects, and where my values aligned,” Nolles said.
Nolles said her internship has given her valuable insight and understanding of the federal legislative process that she will utilize in her future teaching career. She is minoring in Leadership-Entrepreneurship through the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program and Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars.
“A question that I have been asked frequently since accepting the internship is, ‘Wait, if you want to be a teacher, why are you working in politics?’ I am fortunate that global awareness and understanding of government and democracy was instilled in me from a young age, but many youth don’t understand these concepts. As a future teacher, I am excited to share my experiences with students while teaching them to analyze issues and how policy affects agriculture,” she said.
She is thankful for the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s support and recommends that any student members who are interested in agriculture policy to apply for the Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award and experience Capitol Hill first-hand.
“Last fall, when I took AECN 345, an agriculture policy course, with Dr. Brad Lubben. I enthusiastically absorbed any information that was shared in his class, and met all of the guest speakers who shared their careers relating to ag policy. When Jordan Dux spoke to our class, I knew that I wanted to receive the Olsen Award. Finding a paid internship in D.C. is a challenge in itself. While I did receive payment for my internship, it was incredibly helpful to receive this award to help fund housing and living expenses. Especially as I student teach this semester and cannot work, I am so grateful to have Nebraska Farm Bureau supporting my growth and alleviating some financial burden, so that I can focus on doing my best work.” Nolles said.
The Keith R. Olsen Agricultural Policy Internship Award was established in 2011 by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation to honor Olsen, who served as Farm Bureau president from 2002-2011 and on the board of directors for nearly 20 years. Olsen had emphasized creating opportunities in agriculture for young people during his years with the organization.
The award provides up to $3,000 to a UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources junior or senior to work as an intern in a Nebraska Congressional office, a Congressional Committee or approved agricultural organization.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 61,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.