Monthly Archives: July 2019

Goodbye from Region 5

It was real, it was fun, and it was real fun

Last week was our last summer camp at the Woodbury Office, which was Kids in the Kitchen. At this camp, the youth has the opportunity to learn the 5 different good groups and also got plenty of time in the kitchen and good different meal throughout the day. This camp was three separate days

We have done a couple of food demos in the past few weeks. One of the demos was at the Mapleton Food Giveaway where we sampled guacamole. A couple of days ago we sampled crunchy cabbage salad and give away a bunch of recipes from Spend Smart Eat Smart Website!

Last Thursday, we went down to Onawa to help clean up the Demo Garden. Look at the before and after pictures

When we first started in Region 5 we were told many times that this summer was going to go fast. Well, they were right! As we only have a couple of days left in Region 5, we have been a lot doing our “last”. For all of us, it was a great experience working with everyone and making a lot of connections within Region 5. We are really sad to say goodbye to everyone, but we are glad we took this opportunity to work and learn more about extension! Goodbye from Region 5

Region 1: Final Countdown

The summer has finally come to an end. We still can’t believe that the internship is already over, as we only have 3 days left in Region 1. These last few days are full of goodbyes. We are very sad to end all of our programs but have enjoyed our internship very dearly. It was amazing watching the children we impacted grow in both knowledge and experience. We will surely look back on this summer and cherish the memories made with both the children and all of the Region 1 extension staff. Here are some of the highlights from our summer as Rising Star Interns.  

We asked Bright Beginnings Daycare in Sibley to describe our Beginner Gardeners program. Here are some of the words they used to describe our program.

We have enjoyed our time at all of the extension offices in Region 1. Thank you to all of the offices for their help throughout this past summer. We couldn’t have done it without them!


Region 1 Rising Star Interns, Alyssa Rosenbaum, Madeline Robinson, and Natalee Dippel

Goodbye from Region 20

 As my time in Southeast Iowa is finishing up, I just want to express my appreciation to everyone who has worked with Rachel, Katelin, and I this summer.  Everyone has been so generous, patient, and more than willing to work with all three of us throughout the summer. A special thanks to Morgan Hoenig and Janet Smith who are the reason we even got the opportunity to be a part of an internship as unique as this one. I am also grateful that Katelin and Rachel were chosen for Region 20 as well. They were half the reason this internship was so fun and I will miss all the laughs we had this summer. As far as working for Extension and Outreach I loved every minute of my time promoting local foods.  It included all of my favorite activities: visiting farms, cooking food, and sharing that food with others.  The Rising Star internship opened my eyes to new interests and experiences, yet at the same time reaffirmed that I want to be able to combine my interest of agriculture and nutrition in my future career. 

-Grace, Region 20 Rising Star Intern 

What a summer! I have bittersweet feelings as this internship comes to an end. Not only have I built upon my career-related skills through the abundance of tasks I had this summer, but I have also gained a lot of beautiful connections along the way. I am happy that spending 40 hours a week with my coworkers led me to consider them as friends. Every time I get ice cream I will be reminded of Grace’s love for food, and whenever I need a great story time, I can invite Katelin over and she will have plenty to tell. Thank you, ladies, for making the long days a memory that makes me laugh at our tired, goofy selves. I am grateful I had an internship experience that strongly emulated some of my passions: local foods, healthy habits, and building connections with wonderful community members. I loved that when I was supporting local producers in Southeast Iowa, I also felt I was indirectly supporting my own farming family back in Illinois by this promotion of family farms that were passionate about their work. A final thanks to Morgan Hoenig, Janet Smith, and all the other friendly faces in extension that lent kind words, advice, and helped with organizing our entire summer. You have all contributed to my growth during this internship, and I am excited to bring these connections and lessons to the next step in my career. 

-Rachel, Region 20 Rising Star Intern 

Wow! I can’t believe my time as a Rising Star Intern is coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday I was moving to Mount Pleasant for the summer. To say the least, this summer has flown by. I am so thankful for being selected to be a Rising Star Intern. This summer has been full of new experiences, new learning opportunities, new life-long friends, and a new-found appreciation for Extension and Outreach. Throughout the summer I have been able to grow as an individual, as well as a business professional. I was able to combine my interest of agriculture, education, and outreach throughout this entire internship. My coworkers and I were able to host eight library programs at different libraries, attend countless farmers markets, visit multiple family farms and create promotional content for them, visit county fairs, and so much more! This summer has been jammed packed with so many wonderful experiences and opportunities. No two days on the job were the same and every day was extremely fun. I can’t express my gratitude enough to Janet Smith and Morgan Hoenig for guiding us in the right direction throughout the summer. Without these two, my coworkers and I would have never been able to have so many wonderful experiences. Also, a big thanks to all of the wonderful individuals at all of the county offices for being so kind and welcoming to my coworkers and me. A final thanks to Rachel and Grace for being the BEST coworkers I could ask for! There was never a dull moment working with these two. I’m so glad through this internship I have gained two new friends. Although I am sad to see this summer come to an end, I will be forever grateful for this amazing experience and the Rising Star Internship program. 

Yours truly,  

Katelin Pagel, Region 20 Rising Star Intern 

Region 1: Coming to a Close

Wow! I can’t believe it is our final full week as Rising Star Interns. It seems like yesterday we were just moving into our apartment at NCC. As the internship draws to a close, I look back on my time with great pride. These past few months have been full of positive, creative energy where no two days are alike. I have been able to further develop and grow not only as a person but also as a future agriculture educator.

One of my most favorite parts about the internship throughout the summer has been getting to know the kids at each of the daycare programs. If anyone knows me, they know that I love both working and being around kids. They have such authentic and curious minds. When telling the daycares that it is our final time coming, you could see the children’s sad body language. It made me realize that we really did make a positive impact on them just as they made an impact on me. Although I may not be completely ready to leave them, knowing that I made a difference makes parting a little bit more bearable.

I also benefited tremendously from getting to network with so many people not only in extension but from everyday occurrences. Whether it was extension specialist, county staff, master gardeners, or community members, getting to build relationships with them throughout the summer was vital to my career growth.

I will remember all the people through extension that have inspired me as I strive to carry that inspiration to others. Thank you Iowa State University Extension for an incredible and memorable summer!

-Signing off

Natalee Dippel, Region 1 ISU Extension & Outreach Rising Star Intern

Region 3 – Catching Up!

You haven’t heard from us here in Region 3 for awhile, I bet you’re wondering what we’ve been doing! Let us tell you!

We have really dove into work on our reports, presentations, and final meetings. As of today the reports are turned in. It is CRAZY to think that we are this far into the summer already! We have had our last Top of Iowa Trail meeting and Child Care Committee meeting. We have one last meeting coming up tomorrow, where we are going to meet with the Sheffield Care Center, a small group from the Child Care Committee, and Tammy (the child care director and intergenerational care coordinator from Acorns and Oaks – an intergenerational care facility) to answer any questions either group might have.

A few weeks back we spent time collecting pictures for our Top of Iowa Trail Report. We stopped and grabbed ice cream in Mason City on our way back! I was perfect for the hot summer day!

Last week we were busy with the Franklin County Fair. We attended the extension council meeting, handed out flyers for our pitch at the Iowa State Fair, and won the cake decorating and salsa making contests!

As we are looking forward, we have presentations to give to the communities of Worth County and Sheffield and the deans of the colleges at Iowa State University. We are also presenting a pitch of our child care project in Sheffield at the Iowa State Fair to compete in the hopes of getting money for the project! This is a really great opportunity that has been presented to us and we hope if you are reading this that you come out to the Iowa State Fair Varied Industries Building from 3:30pm to 4:30pm on August 11th and vote for our project so we can advance on!

Region 20 – A Bittersweet Week

Can you believe county fair time is upon us? I sure can’t! Fair time means an exciting week in the ISU Extension and Outreach office in Henry County as the events began on last Wednesday. Although our office space has been filled with various 4-H and fair supplies, we have very much enjoyed spending more time with the extension ladies as they work in our room preparing for the events. The laughs and storytelling were much needed amid us realizing the sad fact that our internship is coming to an end in a week and a half.  

In continuation of past events, we had more opportunities this week to work with some familiar organizations. We made our second visit to Hinterland Dairy during their milking time to film more footage for their promotional video. We enjoyed being a part of their family operation on that peaceful evening and can’t wait to show you all the video that we are working on! We also had a second visit to the Burlington Library where we gave out samples of local beets, cherry tomatoes, and watermelon. A reward of watermelon was our best tactic to get kids to try the beets and tomatoes, and I have to say it worked very well after a little bit of persuasion! We were able to provide produce at the Fellowship Cup Food Pantry again and had extra watermelon to give out as samples on the hot and muggy day (it was a dreadful real feel temp. of 105). Our third visit to the Christamore Family Treatment Center included making salsa with local onions, tomatoes, and green peppers along with cilantro picked fresh from their garden. The kids finished all the salsa and we even had watermelon (surprise, surprise) as a refreshing option on the very hot day.   

New and exciting events were a highlight of this week, and I have to say one of my favorite weeks of the internship thus far. We gave a lesson to kids at the Lee County Conservation on the MyPlate food groups and helped the kids weed, water, and harvest vegetables in the garden. The kids even got to try the vegetables they harvested, but unfortunately, watermelon was not offered as a reward and the persuasion became a necessity. One of the most exciting things we were able to do this week was putting our chef hats on for the night and becoming cupcake judges at the Henry County Fair. After tasting over TEN cupcakes, our bellies were full and the winners were chosen. We loved being a part of the fair’s events since it was something we had all been a part of when we were young. 

This week was a hot one, but we were able to spend a few afternoons relaxing at the public pool. Working in the evening isn’t too bad when you just spent the afternoon getting a nice tan! Between food pantries, dairy farm visits, library programs, and fair activities it has been quite the rollercoaster ride, and I am starting to realize that I will soon have to say goodbye to this wonderful experience. I am grateful for this diverse week and the amazing work I get to do with this internship.   

Now onto the next exciting week! 


A Busy Week for Region 1!

This week had been jam-packed. We have had so many new activities along with our normal routine. Although it has been jam-packed, it has also been a lot of fun. The weeks are slowly dwindling down, as we now only have 2 weeks left. I am starting to feel sad about leaving, as I will miss working with my co-workers, teaching kids, and gaining new experiences.

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

As I mentioned, we had a lot of activities out of our norm this past week. On Saturday, we had another food demonstration at the Lakes Area Farmer’s Market in Spirit Lake. This was our second and final food demonstration. We sampled a crunchy cabbage salad, which consisted of cabbage, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and onions, all purchased at the farmers’ market, topped with a light ranch dressing. The food demonstrations have been one of my favorite programs of this internship. I love testing out recipes and sharing them with others. I even taught Maddie and Natalee new ways to cut vegetables.

On Monday morning, we helped at static judging for the Osceola County Fair. Our job was to write comments for the judges. I was never involved in 4-H, so it was a whole new experience for me. I enjoyed listening to the kids share their projects. You could tell they were really passionate and proud of their work, and they had a right to be! After judging, we jumped back into our usual Monday routine. We headed over to the Rock Rapids Demonstration Garden and weeded. Then, later in the day, Natalee and Maddie stayed in Rock Rapids to run PoP Club, while I headed back to Sheldon to do the same at the Farmers’ Market. This week, the kids’ activity was matching plant seeds to their corresponding plant. The vegetables taste-tested were green beans and cucumbers.

The next day, Tuesday, we stuck to our normal routine. We helped weed the Sanborn Donation Garden and even experienced our first harvest of the season, swiss chard and spinach. Harvesting is my favorite part of gardening, and I am happy we were able to experience a little bit of it before we are done working for extension. Later, we had a program at the YMCA in Spencer. This week we taught the kids about different types of gardens.

Osceola County 4-H BBQ

As for Wednesday, we had another kids’ program but this time at Bright Beginnings Daycare in Sibley. Here we taught them about the five food groups and the importance of each one. We also helped out at the Osceola County Fair 4-H BBQ. Our job was to shuck and butter corn. It was fun getting to interact with the community. On Thursday we gave a presentation over PoP Club in Rock Rapids.

Then to wrap up our very eventful week, tomorrow, Friday, we will be at the Sioux County Fair with a kids’ craft. We will be having them make animal masks. I am looking forward to working with the kids here!

Keep following our blogs, as we will only have two more for the summer!


Region 5: Getting Close to the End of the Summer!

The past couple of weeks have kept Region 5 Rising Stars busy! During the week of the 4th of July, all three of us interns were planning for upcoming events including Bike “N” Bite and Kids in the Kitchen.

Girls learning how to measure liquid in a measuring cup.

On Tuesday, July 2nd, we were given the opportunity to participate and assist in the 4-H Salsa Canning Workshop. The workshop was led by Woodbury Extension and Outreach Dietitian, Renee Swears. We learned how to make salsa in a jar and the process of canning food. We also had the chance to bake homemade tortilla chips. There were six 4-Hers who participated and each got to make two jars of homemade salsa. The three of us also got to make our own salsa, and I will be entering mine in Open Class at the Woodbury County Fair.

Chopping vegetables for the salsa.
The finished product!

During the past two weeks, we had the opportunity to teach two lessons at the West Monona School Garden. We went out to the school’s garden and had the kids smell herbs and look at the different plants growing. During those lessons, we did an activity and a food demo for the kids. We made a berry smoothie and strawberry salsa.

Rising Stars messing around before the show.

On Tuesday, July 9th, the three of us were invited to do a live segment on KTIV News Channel. Claire demonstrated how to make strawberry salsa and cinnamon tortilla chips while Gustavo and I assisted Matt Breen on the blender bike and spoke about Bike “N” Bite.

Allison and Gustavo showing Matt Breen how to use the blender bike.
Two bicyclists trying the final bite!

Saturday, July 13th was the day we hosted Bike “N” Bite at the Sioux City Farmers Market. There were 11 local restaurants and farmers market vendors that participated in the event. About 75 people biked around Sioux City receiving bites such as strawberry crepes, authentic tacos, fresh donuts, and more. We even had Cy down at the farmers market promoting the event and taking pictures with kids.

Two bicyclists are ready to take on the route.

What a great two weeks in Region 5! Stay tuned for the rest of the summer!

Allison Bermel

Region 20’s one-in-a-melon week!

Another busy work week has come and gone for Region 20. I can’t believe how fast my time as a Rising Star Region 20 Intern is going. During my time as a Rising Star, I have not only gained new experiences, but knowledge, confidence, and valuable life lessons. Being a Rising Star has taught me that no two days in Extension are the same. One day we’re working in a garden and the next we could be working at a food pantry, farmers market, library program, or anywhere else! Having a variety of tasks every single day not only keeps me on my toes but also acknowledges the influential events I’ve done here in Southeast Iowa. Knowing all the work I am doing with Extension is making an impact not only in the community but in all of Region 20 is very rewarding to me.

This week we started off with a smoothie bike demonstration at Hope Haven in Mount Pleasant. With the smoothie bikes we made a Berry Green Smoothie and After School Humus, all coming from the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website.

Bright and early Tuesday morning we helped harvest produce from the Muscatine Research Farm. We harvested beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, kale, zucchini, and much more.After harvesting, we donated half of the produce to the Muscatine Food Pantry and took the rest back with us to Mount Pleasant to donate to Fellowship Cup later on in the week.

Wednesday we were on the hunt for watermelon. Due to all the rain and flooding, a lot of produce is behind in Southeast Iowa. This caused us to scramble for some fresh, locally grown produce. We finally found a farmer in Louisa county who could supply us with watermelon for an event on Thursday. A big thank you to Krueger’s Market for the yummy watermelon!

Thursday was the busiest day of the week for us. When we arrived at the office, we started preparing kale chips for a tasting at the Fellowship Cup Food Pantry.Mid-morning we arrived at the food pantry to hand out samples of kale chips and cherry tomatoes. We also were able to donate and hand out bunches of kale, bags of broccoli, and bags of cherry tomatoes that we harvested from the research farm. In the afternoon we loaded up the smoothie bike and were on the road to the Lee County Fair. Fun Fact: The Lee County Fair is Iowa’s oldest county fair! While visiting the Lee County Fair, we had the smoothie bike for kids of all ages to pedal their own smoothie. We also had fresh watermelon that we handed out right outside the show pavilion where the sheep show was being held. The watermelon, as well as the cold smoothies, were a GIANT hit!! It was such a hot day, and everyone was refreshed after a smoothie and a slice of watermelon.

This week has been full of smoothies, farms, food pantries and fairs! We have been busy but also enjoying every moment. Next week, believe it or not, is even busier than this week was for Region 20! Stay tuned!


Region 1 Internship Hacks

For the blog this week I have decided to write down some things I have found helpful throughout the summer. This is my first internship and will be the last one I complete before graduating from Iowa State in December. While I have had jobs in the past that have given me great experiences, there is something unique about internships and how they allow you to fully immerse yourself in the workplace. Here I have put together a list of things I have found helpful to ensure I get the most out of the Rising Star Internship program this summer!

1.) Have an open mind

As much as you plan ahead of time, there is always a chance that things may go off course. For example, when planning the curriculum for the Orange City and Sibley daycares there are times when we have extra time that we did not plan for. Having simple games in the back of your head is helpful so you don’t panic when there is extra time at the end of a lesson. Having an open mind allows you to not beat yourself up when something does not go as planned, and instead turn it into a learning experience. By having an open mind I was able to learn how to improvise and not become frustrated when plans don’t go as planned.

2.) Get to know the people you work with

At previous jobs I have only worked part-time because I was attending school. Moving to a different town for an internship and being fully immersed in the job comes with stronger work relationships. I have had more time to develop relationships and get to know the other interns and employees at extension. Putting in the effort to talk and get to know the other employees pays off because of the support system that you develop.

3.) Have a routine activity or hobby outside of work

While moving to a new town for work has many benefits, sometimes it can be hard to find activities outside of work to focus on. Having an activity separate from work is important for self-care and developing a routine. When we get back from long work days, I take the time to walk the trail near the dorm or go to the gym. Even just a quick trip to the grocery store gives my mind something else to focus on besides work. Having this time is important for self-care, so you can come back to work and feel ready to go again.

4.) Save time for reflection

With all the new connections and networking skills I have gained this summer, it is important to take time to understand how I will use this to benefit my future career. At the end of the day take an experience whether it is good or bad from the day and reflect on what you learned. For example, we planned a way to measure the success of the Beginner Gardener and PoP club programs by collecting data from participants. The ability to gather data and measure the success of a program is essential for any future project I will undertake. By reflecting on how I can use this skill set, I was able to gather ways that I can use this new information in my future. Taking this time to reflect is so important to get the most out of the internship experience!

Thanks for reading!