Hi, I am Cydney Stables and this is my last week as an intern for the OSU Extension Communications office. As I am wrapping up the last week of my internship, I have taken some time to think about all the amazing opportunities this summer has provided me. Throughout this journey, I have learned a number of life skills that not only relate directly to my majors but also to any career path I choose to take.

During my internship, I had the opportunity to rotate among four teams in the Extension communications office: news and public issues, marketing, web and content strategy and publishing. While each team brought a new perspective to the overall outlook of the Extension communications department, I also had the opportunity to complete new and exciting tasks.

Cydney Stables

Some of my favorite projects this summer included:

  • Traveling across the state to explore county Extension offices.
  • Writing and publishing a news release.
  • Developing a 4-H postcard, brochure and templates.
  • Adding publications to the Extension website.
  • Creating and conducting an activity to help Extension with web organization.
  • Formatting the main Extension website topic pages.
  • Creating a social media plan to promote publications.
  • Editing various web articles.
  • Voting on my favorite T-shirt design to use as promotional material.
4-H instructional sheet template designed by Cydney Stables.

This list may seem long but there have been so many other tasks that have taught me new things, brought me out of my comfort zone, and helped me learn tips and tricks for my future success.

While working towards all of these goals, I also had the opportunity to work with interns in county offices on their blog posts. By reading each post I felt like I experienced an even broader perspective of the work Extension programs do. Being the intern for central Extension communications has provided me with an outlook on Extension from a new perspective.

My internship overall has been a great learning experience. By rotating among the different communications teams, I had the opportunity to learn a wide variety of skills including problem solving, seeking out advice, using outside resources, thinking outside the box, as well as drafting and revising.

I have had the opportunity to develop great connections among each employee in the office and work with different teams, different personalities, work environments and new and exciting tasks.

I have seen the hierarchy it takes to run a strong outreach organization and while leaders are important, every member of every office is just as important. Extension needs a communications network to bring the actions and efforts of county employees to the eyes of legislators while communicators need county employees to do the work and perform the outreach.

Instagram post for nutrition publication designed by Cydney Stables.

From traveling around that state at the beginning of my internship – seeing the day-to-day functions of county Extension employees – to working on central communications teams and even meeting important program leaders my internship has provided me with a well-rounded outlook of the tiered functionality of the Extension program in the state of Oregon. Growing up in Yamhill County I had the opportunity to call the Extension 4-H program home and I hope to someday work, volunteer or participate in the outreach of Extension, now and into the future.

I would like to thank all of the people I have had the opportunity to work with. It has been amazing to see how each team functions to bring together the value of Extension as a whole. Every individual is important in making an impact on the public, educating youths, connecting communities and empowering individuals. This internship has shown me what the purpose of Extension truly is from all levels. I have developed a great appreciation for county workers who assisted me in all my years through the 4-H program, for legislators and county commissioners who allocate the funding to support impactful programs, and for volunteers, staff, and faculty whose purpose it is to serve our communities.

Hi there! My name is Crystal Kelso, and I’m working this summer with Teagan Moran, small farms outreach coordinator in Linn, Lane, and Benton counties. One of my projects is researching and putting together resources for military veteran famers for our region and statewide. My big project is organizing the Military Veteran Farm Tour Series. I’m really excited about this because working with veterans in the field and on farms is something that means a lot to me, and something that I really enjoy. The veterans I’ve talked with are also really excited to be part of the tour and getting connected with fellow veteran farmers in Oregon.

Crystal Kelso

Other than organizing the Veteran Farm Tour Series, I’ve been working on updating the links and resources for some of the pages on the OSU Small Farms website, such as the drought, fire, flood, disaster relief and resilience programs page and the and wildfires page. I’ve attended a Willamette Women’s Farm Network Medicinal Herb Farm Tour as well and met some amazing ladies who are growing herbs and flowers. I’m going to be putting together a booklet with recipes using herbs and flowers from the group too! Last week, I worked the Extension booths at both the Linn and Lane County fairs.

I look forward to meeting the veteran farmers in person on the tours and making some lasting connections both with them and the herb group. This has been a great opportunity for me so far, and I’m enjoying being part of the team!

Allow me to reintroduce myself, I am Keon Cohl Kiser, a sophomore at Oregon State University working as an intern at the OSU Extension Office in Wasco County. I began my summer internship around June 22nd, expecting to grow professional and people skills in order to obtain work experience and build my resume.

I am supervised by Lu Seapy in the Extension 4-H program, which, among other things, builds healthy communal and familial relationships through fun and educational camps for elementary and middle school kids. I was able to develop my professional and people skills by building new summer camps out of nothing, which includes the curriculum and the overall structure of each camp. The camps that I worked with involved a STEM focus. They included the technological side of building and programming robots and microcomputers and the scientific and educational side of raising awareness of what is considered recyclable and teaching about the local biology of the Columbia River Gorge.

Keon Kiser (middle left) at hiking camp at Catherine Creek Recreation Area.

As I operated these camps, I was able to see what it was like being a leader in terms of organization and maintaining control over an intense or chaotic situation. You can easily lose control when 22 kids all are working on a hands-on project – all at different paces. Unfortunately in some case the kids didn’t make as much progress as we had hoped on their creations and education.

Also, I will have the fortunate opportunity to work with Jacob Powell, Extension crops and livestock faculty in Wasco and Sherman counties. With Jacob I will be assisting in conducting research on forage kochia to study its resistance to fire in very dry environments. This is a great opportunity since not many undergraduate students can say they assisted in a research project, and I highly enjoy being on the field and learning new concepts.

Gladly, my internship was not like what you may see on TV, where the intern is tasked with only making coffee and walking around with papers. I was immediately challenged in doing things I have had little to no experience participating in like teaching and structuring/creating a curriculum on a consistent basis. Out of this internship I was able to get what I initially wanted out of it: Developing professional and people skills, being challenged, getting to know new people and having tons of fun.

I am blessed to have a job in which it doesn’t feel like a job, except when waking up early in the morning to make it on time, I was able to apply the 4-H mission by building relationship and inspiration within the Wasco County youth, and in the process inspiring myself to continue to excel with my own passions within and outside the STEM field.

Hey everyone!

My life recently has been a whirlwind of activities. Two weeks ago, I attended the 4-H Wild West camp in Salem. The following week we moved straight into Tillamook County’s 4-H horse fair and fashion revue. And this week I’m down at the Coos County Fair. Once I get back it is crunch time for the Tillamook County Fair. And once that is complete my internship will be ending.

Wild West camp final campfire.

Attending the Wild West camp as a staff member was a completely new experience for me. I say this because I was never able to go to camp as a 4-H’er even though it was something I had always wanted to be involved in. It was fun to see the interactions between counselors and campers from an outside perspective.

Some other new experiences for me were the horse fair and fashion revue. I loved getting to see and experience new sides and aspects of 4-H. It is great to see members who are so passionate about their projects.

This week I will be in Myrtle Point for the Coos County Fair for yet another new experience. I have never been able to attend another county fair other than my own. I am excited to see the differences and similarities between them and learn the ways different counties put on a fair.

Life won’t slow down after that though. Next week, there will be only two weeks until the Tillamook County fair will be fully underway. This is the most stressful part of the year but also by far my absolute favorite. I cannot wait to be surrounded by kids putting in hard work and seeing how they have learned and grown over the past year. Seeing the fruition of all of their efforts from the past few months is incredible and I am excited to see how fair works from a staff perspective rather than as a member and exhibitor.

Following fair is the end of my internship and the time for me to return to Montana and continue my education. So, with that I bid farewell to all of you and all of these amazing experiences that this internship has brought me.

I am driving up to a building in an area of town I have never been to and going on a road I did not think had much on it. I had no idea what exactly I was looking for because I have never worked at any type of “Extension/experiment center” before. In my head I am thinking of some people in lab coats walking around in a big, dull building, but when I do find the place, to my surprise it looked nothing of the sort! It has big fields of crops and beautiful trees and plants. I find a place to park after some trouble and make my way into the main Extension office building, a little nervous for my interview. Completing the interview with little trouble – and in my mind at least doing well at making a good first impression of myself –I await the confirmation that I have been hired and then boom! I find out that I would be working for that Extension office. Though I certainly have no idea what to expect, only time will tell. 

When I first arrived at the Hermiston Agricultural research and Extension Center (HAREC) all those months ago, my first impression was remarkably positive. It was beautiful and seemed like a fun place to work. Leaving that first interview I was overcome with excitement for what the first day and the summer that was in store for me. In the few weeks since I have started my internship, HAREC has not only become more beautiful, but I have also learned to value its convenience. There are trees everywhere around the Extension office so if you are working outside there is always a place for some shade as well as nicely made paths that make it easy to get around. Overall, the campus is one of the best I have seen and has made working for Extension here in Hermiston a whole lot of fun.

My first day was quite a special day. I showed up in a hurry to get to work on time, and I managed to do that successfully. I got lucky because I ended up being there during the potato field day and I got to meet tons of unique people, but the first person I met was the person I was going to be working with, Amanda Woodlee, Umatilla County Master Gardener Program coordinator. Amanda was genuinely nice and good at communicating where everything is and helping me get to know the people around the campus. As someone who struggles talking to new people, that was amazing. It helped me get my bearings and people get to know me. The others I met were unique, from people studying nitrate in the soil to those studying plant diseases. I learned tons of new information and left that day feeling excited to properly begin my internship.

By far the biggest thing I have done in my brief time since starting at Extension is work with worms, specifically worm castings. Amanda had a huge aquarium full of worms with digested worm food – freshly sourced from kitchen waste from HAREC – which if separated from the worms and the non-composted waste can be used for fertilizer. Though you do have to separate it and that was going to be my job. That was by far the most daunting thing I have done so far. The worms were hard to catch but getting them all out and into a separate container proved to be a fun methodical challenge. It also taught me an important lesson: If you keep working at something, you will also eventually get it done. It may take months or years – and for me only a few hours – but it’s worth it because then you’ll no longer have to worry about it, and you feel accomplished!

From stumbling into my first day not knowing what to expect, to having to take on a daunting challenge, my first few days have been quite the ride. I have never had this much fun at a job while also feeling remarkably productive and being able to finish tasks as fast as I could get them done. HAREC is beautiful, and so are its people. Though it may not just be enough for me to say this, let me ask: If you got the chance, would you take it and become an intern for OSU Extension in Umatilla County?

Hi! My name is Nora Graham and I’m working with OSU Extension at the Southern Oregon Research and extension Center in Jackson County on some very cool entomology projects. I’m a senior horticulture student at OSU, and I hope someday to use my degree to help create and maintain beautiful landscapes for everyone to enjoy. Even though I’m only a month into my internship, I’ve been having a blast learning about insects and their relation to plants.

Nora Graham setting up a colony for aphids.

My time here has been divided between various research projects involving biocontrol for hemp, vineyards and pear orchards. With hemp, we are trying to see if we can use a wasp to control cannabis aphid populations, since this wasp lays its eggs inside living aphids which eventually kills the aphids. So far, we’re starting the experiment from scratch, so I’ve been helping develop a procedure as well as trying to start a colony of cannabis aphids. We need to see if we can keep a steady population of aphids alive so we can actually conduct the experiment. If all goes well, we’ll be starting trials by next month.

With vineyards, I get to help collect data to determine if treehoppers are a vector for a virus that damages grape vines called red blotch disease. To collect these insects, we go to various places we think they’d be living with a net and swing the net back and forth across the plants. The treehoppers are usually stunned and stay at the bottom of the net long enough to collect. After we collect them, we give them a sucrose solution to feed on and then we test the treehopper and the solution for the virus to see if the treehopper was infected and if it was able to spread its disease.

In pear orchards, one of the most destructive pests is so small you might mistake it as a gnat. It is called pear psyllaand it can do everything from ruin the color of pears, to inhibiting the leaves of the tree from growing, to spread a disease that kills the pear trees. They can develop resistances to chemical sprays, which is why growers are turning to more unconventional treatments of this pest. While researchers work to find a significant way to control pear psylla populations, growers have had to get creative with how they ward off the pest.

Norah Graham uses a net to catch treehoppers.

A promising biocontrol for the pear psylla is the hardy European earwig, Forficula aurcularia. Researchers at OSU have been participating in an experiment to see if earwigs could be intentionally placed into pear orchards to control the pear psylla populations. For the past few weeks, a large part of my work here at SOREC has been trapping hundreds of earwigs from peach orchards and moving them to pear orchards to see if they can help create a dent in the pear psylla population.

Perla Gutierrez

Hello! I am Perla Gutierrez and I am so excited to have this opportunity for the summer. I just finished my first year at University of Idaho, but I am originally from Tillamook County where I am interning this summer. I am a first-generation Latina college student, so getting this internship with Nat Macías, Open Campus and Juntos coordinator, is a huge opportunity for me to help me achieve my goals. I am working with the Juntos Afuera program this summer. I started participating in the Juntos program when I was in the sixth grade, and now I am back as a student leader.

I am almost halfway through the internship, and my main project has been planning and leading activities in Juntos Afuera. Juntos Afuera is an outdoor program for Spanish-speaking high school students to learn about and celebrate Latinx culture, while providing leadership development skills that grow an active group of Latinx explorers and stewards. The program starts by participating in the June Dairy parade. This was the second year we participated. Last year I was a student and this year I got to see a different perspective as a leader. It was strange because there is so much hard work put into one single event that I did not see as a student.

Juntos Afuera participated in the 2022 June Dairy Parade in Tillamook.

At the same time, we were doing the last small details for the summer program. There were a lot of challenges where we had to come up with a quick solution and make it happen in time. That showed me the stressful side of leading a program but then seeing the final results and seeing how the students react makes it all worth it.

Within this program, high school students get a chance to do outdoor activities. So far, we have been planting in school gardens, going on hikes around the county, and next we will be kayaking. It has been so much fun, and I am getting to know new places and new experiences.

I have also been able to know what happens behind closed doors … having all the permits, food, transportation, and so much more. I am majoring in interior architecture so a lot of what I am doing does not specifically relate to my major, but I am learning a lot of life skills. In this internship my main responsibilities are leading activities throughout the week such as nature journaling, taking pictures and videos and composing social media posts, and keeping all registration forms up to date. I have also had the opportunity to do things like writing a set of interview questions we will ask students when we film them or deciding the best art supplies that will help them be successful throughout the summer. I am sure there will be more surprises as the summer continues to unfold.

So far, I have had amazing time and am excited for the rest of summer.

Hi! My name is Anna Ehlers and I’m an OSU Extension summer intern at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center (SOREC) in Jackson County. I am an Oregon State University student majoring in horticulture with a minor in biological data science. I am working with my supervisor Lena Hosking, 4-H program coordinator in Jackson County.

Anna Ehlers poses with her display at the Jackson County Fair.

I have been working with 4-H for the past few weeks and I am having a great time. We just finished working at the Jackson County Fair and I helped with a bunch of prep work in preparation for the fair. I started off my internship getting to know 4-H, learning about its values as an Extension program and how it contributes to the community. I have worked on many marketing projects, including making and designing flyers, creating trifold displays, and printing  necessary documents for the fair. It’s a lot of work making everything perfect. I needed to have a lot of attention to detail while also displaying our message and goals of 4-H in an easy-to-read document for the community.

I had the opportunity to work at the county fair as a judge and a craft coordinator. I judged horticulture, educational displays, and miscellaneous STEM projects. I learned how to judge fairly based on the criteria. Interviewing the younger kids was pretty fun! Many of them had passions in different projects, and I really enjoyed talking with them about their projects. I made sure to leave plenty of comments on all of their work, even when I already worked eight hours that day, because I wanted to make sure everyone could look back and see how they could improve their projects in the future. I did my best to be fair and in line with the guidelines set in place for the different age groups. As you may expect, the older kids did better than the younger kids, but I saw a lot of potential in many of the projects I judged that day.

My favorite part of the fair was working with the public as a craft coordinator. I had thought of three different projects, with advice from my supervisor, about what projects I could do. I needed to find project instructions online and modify them to work with the age groups I was expected to work with. I also needed to find all the supplies I needed in storage and create a list of the necessary materials needed to be ordered to make these projects possible. The projects I presented were dirt buddies, animal tracks/pinecone people, and bead crafts.

A youth pinecone craft.

The dirt buddies were a fun project where the kids put grass seed and dirt into a nylon sock, gluing googly eyes to the outside. When the kids get home, they watered their buddy and in a few days the grass seeds germinated and started to grow grass out of the top of their head – similar to a Chia Pet.

For my animal tracks and pinecone people craft I had plaster casts of four different animal footprints to show and ask the kids what they noticed about the tracks. I asked them about how many toes the tracks had then asked the kids how many fingers they had. Some of the younger kids thought it was pretty cool that opossums have the same number of toes that we do. I supplied coloring sheets with the same animals as the plaster casts so that they could make connections with the tracks to the animal. I also had a print-out of different animal tracks that the kids could look at. Their parents and grandparents were very intrigued by this page more than the kids were. On the other side of my table, I had the pinecone people crafts. The craft involves decorating a pinecone with googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and feathers to create a fun character. These two activities were designed to teach the kids about nature.

The final project I worked on was bead crafts. I provided images and instructions on how to make a bead doll, jellyfish, and a snake using various materials including pipe cleaners, egg cartons, string, pony beads, and googly eyes. This project was intended to work on motor skills as well as provide a chance to be creative using only a handful of materials. A number of kids deviated from my craft images and made their own designs, showing their creativity and ingenuity.

I have really enjoyed my time here so far. In the coming weeks I will be working with the different departments around SOREC as well as developing a horticulture curriculum for 4-H designed to be used next year.

Alyssa Tollefson

Hello, my name is Alyssa Tollefson and I am an intern in the OSU Extension office in Klamath County. I just graduated from Henley High school in Klamath Falls. In high school, my interests and classes I took varied greatly. I started my freshman year wanting to be a lawyer or an interior designer. As the year progressed, I took my deep love of learning and applied for an internship with Nicole Sanchez, horticulture Extension faculty in Klamath County. At that time, I didn’t know much about OSU Extension, so my goal was to learn more. My job focused mainly on horticulture as well as some entomology aspects. Throughout my time working with Nicole, I gravitated more towards entomology as I just wanted to learn as much as possible.

I have decided to get my associate degree in agricultural science and continue down my line of work with breeding goats but also use my entomology knowledge in everyday farming life and as a hobby. As for how I will be using my internship to research the different types of pollinators and putting together a visual display of the non-bee pollinators. Concluding the summer and my internship, I plan to host an event for the youths in the Klamath Basin to come and see pollinators up close under microscopes and learn more about them.

Ahad Aziz (from left) with fellow interns Briauna Herrick and Kelci Free at a nitrate testing table at the Corvallis Farmers Market.

Hey everyone! My name is Ahad Aziz, and I am from Tigard, Oregon. I just recently graduated from Oregon State with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and have a few more classes until I also finish my Bachelor of Science in public health with a focus in health management and policy. I’m on track to graduate in December, and I will still be at Oregon State, working on a Master of Business Administration degree. My background is definitely different than most of the other OSU Extension interns. Still, I’m glad to be able to provide that unique and “outsider” perspective to the Extension service and groundwater protection program in the mid-Willamette Valley.

So far, I have worked at four well-water testing clinics and have many more to be a part of for the rest of the summer. My specific intern project is working with the medical community in the area, mainly from Salem to Eugene, and providing health care professionals with the knowledge to best support their patients who rely on well water. I’ve found that there’s a disconnect between health care providers and their rural patients as not many of them realize that some symptoms that their patients come in with might have something to do with nitrate or other unhealthy things in the water.

With that being said, I’m going to shamelessly plug the fact that if you live in the mid-Willamette Valley, you can get your well water tested at an OSU Extension office near you! Just bring half-a-cup of water in a clean cup to Extension offices in Benton, Lane, Linn, Marion and Polk counties, Monday through Friday, during normal business hours, and we’ll get your water tested for nitrate. I’ll be at the office in Benton County if you want to meet me personally, or to give me life advice because I have no idea what I want to do with my future.

I’ll talk to you guys again in September!