Ag students get royal treatment
Seed company flies job prospects to headquarters for interviews
By ANDREA CHAFFIN
WILMINGTON — Rock stars? A congressional entourage? Moguls of industry? No, the persons leaving Clinton County Airport Nov. 9 by helicopter were five Wilmington College students.
Beck’s Hybrids flew the agriculture students to its headquarters in Atlanta, Ind., for interviews with the company. They included seniors Kara Pontones, LeAnn Topp and Kelsey Berger, and juniors Jenny Shaw and Katie Shaw.
This marks the second batch of students they’ve transported to Indiana for interviews. The company already hired one of the students.
Beck’s is the largest privately held seed company in the United States and employs a number of WC agriculture alumni. Wilmington College’s agriculture students are finding employment at extraordinarily high percentages within several months after graduation.
Berger, one of the students selected for the exclusive interview, is a 21-year-old senior from Milford. She is majoring in agronomy (the science of crops), and graduated in December.
The ride was “a little scary at first,” she said. “But once we got in, it was great — just a little cozy in there.”
After the group landed, they took a tour of Beck’s facilities, including grain houses and a new research building. Each senior student spoke with three people during three separate interviews, and each junior student spoke to individuals hiring for internships.
After the company provided lunch, the group also had the opportunity to pose questions to Vice President Scott Beck.
For Berger, the trip was somewhat of a reunion. She worked with the company her freshman year and credits Wilmington College’s well-known agriculture program for the opportunities.
“I’m familiar with it and I love it,” she said. “I was low on the totem poll, but was taken in with equality and had a great experience. When many other 17-year-olds in different majors and at different schools were going home or working at Kroger, I was given the opportunity to work somewhere in my industry with valuable experience.”
Berger has made it through the first round of interviews, and is waiting to hear when the final round will take place for the full-time position.
“In ag, companies are just as excited to have you as you are to be at the interview,” she said. “Ag is one of few industries not hit by the recession as dramatically — people are still hiring.”
“And they’re not just jobs, it’s jobs that I am actually interested in,” Berger continued. “I’m not one of those grads that will have to settle. The experience you get at Wilmington College makes you ready for experiences in the job field.”
(Andrea Chaffin is a staff writer for the Staff Writer Wilmington News Journal.)