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Extension intern getting real-life experience

7/14/2014

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

She didn't get started in 4-H until high school, but it didn't take Jennifer McGonegal long to realize it was a good fit for her.

McGonegal, who grew up on a 10-acre country home near Castle Rock, Colo., is working as an intern for the Ellis County Extension Service this summer, and 4-H is a big part of the internship.

The Extension office tries to employ an intern each year, and 4-H agent Susan Schlichting thinks it hit the jackpot this year.

"It's always beneficial to have an extra set of hands because summer is a very, very busy time in our office," Schlichting said. "But Jennifer is one of those self-starters, so you can delegate things to her and you know they will get done. That's a really big help."

The internship program is a win-win situation for all involved, Schlichting said.

"She gets to see the real-world experience, to see the facets of our whole program," Schlichting said -- listing projects in the agriculture and horticulture programs, as well as family and consumer sciences -- in which McGonegal also has participated. "And we get good help. It's beneficial for both parties."

It's an new experience for McGonegal, who has had her sights set on becoming an agriculture teacher.

"This internship really opened an opportunity for me," said McGonegal, who will graduate in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in agriculture education."

McGonegal checked into an internship with Ellis County Extension last year, but the position already was filled.

So she did some volunteer work in 4-H anyway, and "I loved it."

Now, McGonegal is considering doing some Extension work, too, when she gets out of college.

She will get plenty of experience this week.

The 2014 Ellis County Fair kicked off during the weekend and gets in full swing today with the majority of 4-H entries coming to the fairgrounds.

"The 4-H group here is great," McGonegal said. "I'm looking forward to it."