Clayton White: Finding the “Perfect” Internship

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Many students find themselves needing an internship to fulfill school requirements or to gain specialized job experience. Sometimes, finding the “perfect” internship can be frustrating, tedious, or just simply overwhelming. Read below to see how recent CALS graduate, Clayton White, had a very successful experience!

Clayton graduated this past December (2023), earning a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science with a minor in Agricultural Business Management. He is currently working as an Agronomist with Fowler Crop Consulting in Roanoke Rapids, NC. Clayton works with both the research side of the company on test plots, where he plays a large role in preparing equipment, and the Agronomic side of the company, where he consults with farmers. In his position as an agronomist, Clayton has been able to combine his education and personal experience to contribute to field crops research and provide farmers with reliable service.

Many people in agriculture know that the Agricultural community is highly supportive of each other and is often family-oriented. Clayton was able to grow up in that community on a family farm. Although no longer farming, Clayton is still very passionate about the industry and contributing to the farming community, which inspired him to pursue the internships and career he now holds. Clayton takes pride in his farming background and also counts it as instrumental in his career as he is able to relate to farmers because he has lived that role himself.

“I love this way of life,” Clayton adds.

After talking with a close friend that worked at Coastal AgroBusiness, located in Edenton, NC, Clayton decided he wanted to pursue an internship with the company. However, he did not take the “traditional” route by applying through ePack, NC State’s Career Development Center. Clayton decided he would pursue an internship by directly contacting Coastal Ag’s HR personnel to express his interest and potential as an intern. Within a month’s time frame of contacting HR, Clayton was interviewed and notified he had received the position!

A man holding a box of pesticide.

 Clayton worked at Coastal Ag the following summer as well, where he gained experience in both seed and chemical sales, and Precision Agriculture technology. Clayton made the comment that he was “filling the planter with one hand, and on the phone with Coastal Ag with the other,” when inquiring about an internship position. Although Clayton intended for this to be a humorous part of the story, I think it highlights his dedication and passion for agriculture, hard work, and his active pursuit of job experience.

While at NC State, Clayton was heavily involved with the NC State Ducks Unlimited Chapter, a wetland conservation organization, where he served on the chapter’s officer team. Clayton was also a member of the Agronomy Club at NC State. Reflecting on his involvement and experiences with these clubs, Clayton says that he was able to develop his communication skills and work with people from diverse backgrounds. He said it also helped him develop leadership skills through team efforts, while fellowshipping with others who share a love for agriculture and the outdoors. Clayton credits his close friends at NC State with providing support and encouragement throughout his college journey. He likes to refer to the quirky, yet meaningful quote that he and his friends share: “If you need us, we will call you.” To many people, this quote is a little backwards. But to Clayton and his fellow Wolfpack friends, it means:

“No matter where you go, no matter where you end up, the Wolfpack is always there for you, whether you need them or not. The people I have met up here have been there for me from the day that I met them, and I have done the same for them.”

During the AHS departmental ceremony, Clayton shared his experiences in a graduation speech of how he tackled college, personal, and work life. He encouraged fellow students to approach life with a ‘work hard’ attitude– a concept that Clayton has expressed in all areas of his life, including his work experience. Clayton ended his speech with “These degrees we are about to receive mean something, and a degree from NC State can take you all over the world.” This is a concept any WolfPacker can get behind!

From Clayton’s story, we find that employers like to see prospective employees and interns putting in the effort to go above and beyond the standards. We also find that the “perfect” internship doesn’t have to be perfect at all. The purpose of an internship is to expose students to the work environment and cultivate skills that they can carry out into their career. You may love the internship–like Clayton–or maybe you find out it’s not for you. Either way, it’s bringing you one step closer to finding your lifetime career! So embrace the internship journey. After all, it might just lead you to the “perfect” career.