FORT VALLEY, Ga. -- After graduating from Monroe Comprehensive High School in May, Zandria Chambers was one of 16 students selected from 15 Georgia counties to participate in Fort Valley State University's eight-week TEAM Success internship program.
Chambers, who's deciding whether to join the U.S. Air Force or attend college, completed the internship July 30. She shadowed and worked firsthand with Dougherty County extension agent Charlie Grace during TEAM, which stands for teaching, enlightening, achieving and mentoring.
Offered to high school juniors, seniors and recent high school graduates, the university's Cooperative Extension Program paid participants a $1,600 stipend. As a land-grant university, the institution offers information and opportunities, through its extension program, to state residents on a variety of topics, including farming, food and nutrition, horticulture and gardening.
"The most unforgettable experience I had this summer was the day I spent picking, labeling and packaging watermelons, and riding with the watermelons in the bin that was pulled by a John Deere tractor to be shipped to a market," said Chambers, 18.
After her internship experience, Chambers told a Fort Valley State University public relations specialist that she could visualize herself attending FVSU in the future and majoring in either agriculture engineering or agriculture economics.
"I would recommend this program to anyone because it gives (you) a chance to learn more about agriculture and natural resources with hands-on experience," Chambers said.
It was clear to Kena Torbert, FVSU family specialist and TEAM Success program coordinator, how much Chambers had grown through the internship following her five- to 10-minute PowerPoint presentation on what she had learned.
"She had a great learning experience," said Torbert, who has worked for FVSU for seven years. "You (could) tell from her presentation that she did learn and understand from the cooperative extension (agents) their jobs and duties and what they do for the state."
TEAM Success started in 2007 as a way to expose high school students to agriculture careers, which vary from nutritionists to extension agents to veterinarians.
For more information about TEAM Success internships, contact Torbert at (478) 825-6573 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.ag.fvsu.edu/teamsuccess.cfm.