The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021

Cooper interns gain hands-on experience

Independent staff and submitted information

OAKWOOD — Sixteen summer interns from various colleges and universities recently completed summer internship opportunities at Cooper Farms, providing a fresh new perspective to multiple areas of the company.

COO Gary Cooper said he believes the interns are able to provide a fresh outlook on many processes and approaches. 

These college students had the opportunity to intern this summer at Cooper Farms’ various facilities to learn more about the food industry. Cooper Farms photo

“These internships are a great thing for not just the students, but also our management group,” said Cooper. “A large portion of our management team has been with the company for a long time, which is wonderful. The presence of these interns really helps us get a fresh and young view on things.”

Terry Wehrkamp, director of live production at Cooper Farms, noted internship opportunities are the perfect scenario to allow students first-hand learning experiences as they prepare to enter the workforce.

“One of the most important things a student can do during his education is to network with people and companies that afford opportunities in key interest areas,” he said. “Getting a foothold in a real production setting allows our interns to get to know the people and companies we work with.  It’s invaluable to them as they enter the workforce.”

Interns were assigned to all areas of the company, such as live animal, food safety, technology, and process improvement. 

Nicole Pickard, an animal science major at The Ohio State University who worked as a quality services technician at the Van Wert Cooked Meats location, said the opportunity will help her in deciding the future of her career after college. 

“I know much more now about meat science since entering this internship, which will help me greatly as I begin to decide my career path,” she said. “I’ve learned much more about how things work for the food science industry as a whole and will be able to take that with me as I enter the agricultural industry.”

This year’s intern class included: Cassie Yoder, Gabi Paxson (Purdue University); Jenna Pleiman, Emily Knapke (Wright State Lake Campus); Dan Becker, Nicole Pickard, Kalyn Strahley, Holly Schmenk (The Ohio State University); Claire Vincent (Michigan State University); Mallory Jurcevich (Northwest State Community College); Peyton Shroyer, Jordyn Merriman (University of Findlay); Jake Hemmelgarn (Uni­versity of Cincinnati); Logan Bradford, Jarod Keller (University of Toledo); and Faith Homan (University of Dayton).

POSTED: 08/27/21 at 10:42 pm. FILED UNDER: Business