University of Findlay Honors Intern and Supervisor of the Year
University of Findlay encourages students to take part in internships during their years of study, as it helps to provide hands-on experience, build their resumes, and create networking with professionals in their fields. Through those internships, there are interns and internship supervisors that stand out every year. This year was no different, as the Center for Career & Professional Development awarded intern and supervisor of the year awards during their internship recognition dinner.
Kaylee Morse is finishing up her senior year and will be graduating in May with a bachelor’s in equine business management and an associate’s in western equestrian studies. In the fall she took an internship with HomeFront Equestrians in Ware, Mass., serving as a barn manager and trainer. HomeFront Equestrians is a non-profit organization that provides free horsemanship lessons to children of military families, teaching children everything from groundwork and riding, to the everyday responsibilities of owning an animal. “Often times these young children are filled with so many different emotions, they don’t know what to do with them, and HomeFront Equestrians gives them the chance to let it all go and have a moment to be a kid,” said Kaylee.
Kaylee’s experience started off like any other internship, as she started taking on daily and weekly responsibilities. In November, a homeschooling group approached the farm about teaching the kids about responsibilities of caring for a living animal, while also teaching the kids about giving back to their community. Kaylee was excited, but then an issue arose. “About a week into November, Elizabeth Haynes (Founder and Supervisor of HomeFront Equestrians) and her mom Denise Haynes (co-founder) got really sick with RSV. Eventually, it got to be too much to manage, and they were talking about shutting down,” said Kaylee. “I suggested me keeping the program running while they were out. I expected some hesitations, but they responded in the exact opposite way and embraced the idea with open arms.”
Kaylee admitted that there was a learning curve, but said it was something she fully embraced. “The months of teaching and leadership that Elizabeth poured into me made me feel like I was well prepared for this responsibility.” By the end of things, Kaylee was putting in 30-40 hours a week, while also juggling four online classes. The program survived, and Kaylee’s efforts were recognized when her supervisor nominated her for “Intern of the Year.”
Kaylee went on to win the award and title of “Intern of the Year,” but says she walked away with the experience of a lifetime. “Internships are a lot of work, time, sweat, and maybe even some tears. In the end, it is very worth it. I signed up for an internship to learn barn managing, but I came out with so much more.”
Also taking an award home was Mike Landers, Production/General Manager of ST Genetics in Tiffin. Mike was nominated and took home the award for “Supervisor of the Year,” after former intern and UF student, Laura Caswell nominated him. “When Laura had applied for the summer internship it was already filled, but she impressed me enough when she visited that I offered her a fall internship that we had never had before,” said Mike.
Mike said his mom always wanted him to grow up and be a teacher. With that in mind, and a love of cows, he dual majored in Ag Education and Dairy Science at OSU. After graduating he decided he would rather work with animals than high school kids, so he accepted a herdsman job. “I told my dad I would work there for a couple of years until I decided what I really wanted to do for my career. That was in 1979 and I have worked the same type of job through three ownership changes,” he said.
Despite wanting to work with animals, Mike has had quite the impact on students. “We have hired interns pretty much every year. Several have gone on to be outstanding leaders in different aspects of agriculture,” he said. Over the years he has seen many of his interns go on and create new lives for themselves, adding, “It is gratifying to know we may have played a small part in helping develop social, organizational, and planning skills of these young people.”
For students interested in finding an internship, or looking to report their internship for the opportunity to share their story at next year’s recognition dinner, visit the Center for Career & Professional Development online.