By Julie Deering, PIF Chair
The Professional Improvement Foundation (PIF) Trustees met April 29 in the midst of a national shutdown stemming from COVID-19. Like many businesses and organizations at the time, we had more questions than answers.
- Are on-site internships still feasible?
- Will there be an Ag Media Summit (AMS) this year?
- If we do have an AMS, how many will travel to it?
While some questions remain, such as how will AAEA celebrate its centennial anniversary, time has allowed answers to come forth for a number of them.
Despite the news of numerous cancelled internships, PIF, in partnership with AAEA, has continued its support of two internships. Dylan Davidson of Texas Tech University is the marketing intern, which is hosted by U.S. Wheat Associates, and Jessica Wesson of University of Arkansas is the editorial intern, which is hosted by three publications this year. With 8-10 week assignments, each intern earns a $4,500 stipend, plus $1,000 toward travel costs to AMS and paid registration.
Thank you to Gardner and Gardner Communications and Sage Communications for their continuous support for our marketing internship.
A special thanks goes out to Successful Farming, Farm Progress/Farm Press and DTN/The Progressive Farmer for stepping up this year to accommodate and create a valuable learning opportunity in this year’s editorial internship.
As I write this, the annual meeting of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists should be in full swing, with AAEA being well represented through stipends provided by PIF. As IFAJ has been transformed to an E-Congress this year, no stipends were awarded.
Additionally, the AMS Steering Committee decided to postpone the annual Ag Media Summit to Nov. 14-18. PIF Trustees fully plan to award scholarships for the on-site meeting. Please stay tuned as to when those applications will be due. As such, the annual PIF meeting will be held in conjunction with AMS and the annual AAEA Membership Meeting.
Applications for the highly lauded Andy Markwart Horizon Award will be accepted through July 31. Presented in partnership with John Deere, this award is given to an AAEA member who embodies the youthful vigor, energy, passion, dedication and creativity shown by Markwart in his volunteer work for AAEA for many years. For more information on the award or to nominate a young professional, visit www.agcommnetwork.com.
Some say now is the time to pick up a new skill or brush up on the latest software updates. If you have an idea for professional development that you would like to see come to fruition, submit your proposal to Mary Kendall Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our deadline for grant proposals this year have been modified to accommodate the circumstances. Proposals are divided into two categories, less than $5,000 and more than $5,000. Applications are available online and now due Aug. 15.
PIF is a member-directed non-profit organization that provides funding, direction and input for a wide variety of programs and activities that benefit AAEA members and helps advance the agricultural communications profession. Donate today and pay it forward, pave the way and practice excellence.