In the inaugural year of offering a media internship specific to the livestock show, four undergraduate college students have been selected to serve as the 2015 National Western Livestock Show Media Interns. Meet this year's interns below!
Rachel Lium - Iowa State
Rachel Lium grew up on a diversified livestock and crop farm near Bancroft, Iowa. Her family farm raised pigs, cattle, and chickens. She was actively involved in 4-H for 9 years and showed pigs every year. Through experiences growing up and in college, she learned how passionate she is about communications and the agriculture industry.
After being at Iowa State University for only a semester, she quickly realized that being an advocate for agriculture is extremely necessary in our growing world. With the misconceptions that the agriculture industry faces each day, she believes having the right communicators to discuss the truth about agriculture is crucial.
Currently a junior at ISU, she is a public relations major, with minors in agricultural communications and event management. She is actively involved in student organizations, her favorite being the Iowa State Bacon Expo. She was an Entertainment Co-Chair for this year’s Bacon Expo. This next year she will oversee the executive board as a General Tri-Chair, Communications Manager. She is also on the ISU National Agri-Marketing Association’s competitive marketing team.
This past summer, Rachel was a social media intern at RFD-TV in Omaha. At RFD-TV, she worked to promote the agriculture industry and rural lifestyle. The internship allowed her to combine her love for agriculture and communications.
Rachel is passionate about the agriculture industry and doing all that she can do advocate for it. She is excited for this year’s National Western Stock Show and her opportunities as a media intern.
Lynsey Meharg - Texas Tech
As a young woman involved in agriculture, Lynsey Meharg of Rocky, Oklahoma, works to live up to the motto that her father challenges himself with daily: “A man is only the sum of the experiences that he has had.” This statement fuels Meharg’s motivation for success and to never settle for less than excellence.
Agriculture has always been a part of Meharg’s life and she credits growing up on a cow-calf operation in Northwest Florida with shaping her career path. All those early mornings, moments of frustration and spontaneous celebrations over little successes have served Meharg well as an agricultural communications student.
While at Connors State College, Meharg was a member of the livestock judging team and was nominated to take pictures for the college's annual bull sale. In 2012, Meharg obtained a part-time job creating digital signage, writing, designing publications and photographing events for Connors State College. In addition, she was selected as the Angus Productions, Inc., editorial intern for the summer 2013, served as a 2013 State Fair of Texas Livestock Public Relations intern and worked as an American Royal Media intern.
Currently, Meharg is a senior agricultural communications major at Texas Tech University where she works with Texas Corn Producers and the Texas Peanut Producers Board as a communications intern for both commodities.
With the opportunity to serve as a National Western Livestock Show Media intern, Meharg is excited to experience the National Western while learning from industry professionals and building relationships with other young agricultural advocates.
Shannon Yokley - University of Missouri
Shannon Yokley is a senior majoring in science and agricultural journalism with minors in agricultural education - leadership and agricultural economics at the University of Missouri. She will graduate in May of 2015. Shannon comes from Jefferson City, Mo. where she and her parents, Wayne and Karen, raise registered Angus cattle.
Shannon was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA where she held various leadership positions. She has been exhibiting cattle on local, state and national levels since the age of eight. Through her experiences showing cattle, she easily developed a love for livestock and the agriculture industry. She served as president of the Missouri Junior Cattlemen’s Association and first vice-president of the Missouri Junior Angus Association. During 2012-2013, she was an ambassador for the Angus breed during her reign as Missouri Angus Queen.
On campus at MU, Shannon loves interacting with other young agriculturalists who share common passions. She served as president of Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, first vice-president of Mizzou Collegiate Farm Bureau, treasurer of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and was secretary of Mizzou Collegiate Cattlewomen. She was also a member of the 2014 Mizzou Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team. Shannon was named the 2014 College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Outstanding Junior.
She is currently an intern at Brownfield Ag News and is also the TV/News Intern for MU Extension Cooperative Media Group. Shannon is a student guest blogger for FCS Financial. In the future, she hopes to continue her herd of Angus cattle and open her own agricultural communications firm in Missouri.
Valerie Kesterson - University of Nebraska
Hello! My name is Valerie Kesterson — I call Bridgeport, Nebraska home and I am starting my last semester as a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Agricultural Communications with minors in Animal Science and English. My love for the agricultural industry started when I was very young, getting to ride along with my dad, who was a vet, and be his little ‘helper’!
I can’t remember not having chores growing up. Whether it was bucket calves, the sheep herd my sisters and I had, or our dairy cow projects, there was always plenty to keep busy. I spent 11 years in 4-H; showing livestock, sewing, cooking, and holding leadership positions within my club. My junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to attend National 4-H Congress.
While at the university, I’ve been an active member of Nebraska’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Club, holding several offices, including the 2014/15 President. In addition, I am part of the Nebraska Beef Scholar’s Program, where we take classes, and host a summit centered on the beef industry, specifically in Nebraska. I’m also a member of the Livestock Publications Council, as well as the Nebraska Cattlemen, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
After spending a summer in an advertising agency, and loving it, I plan to stay involved in the ag industry by working in advertising and public relations when I graduate. I’m very excited, and can’t wait to see everyone in Denver at the National Western Stock Show! Until then, cheers!