BEYOND THE CLASSROOM: College of Applied and Natural Sciences’ student succeeds with fortitude

Aug 5, 2013 | Applied and Natural Sciences, General News

Louisiana Tech faculty members encourage students to seek and obtain internships in order to help them determine their career path after college. Many students take advantage of the various internship opportunities. This is the first part of a six-part series highlighting Louisiana Tech students and their internship experiences. For Parker Thurman, determination paid – literally and figuratively. Thurman, a senior agricultural business major at Louisiana Tech, said just one phone call didn’t secure him an internship. Nor did two phone calls. “I called them. I sent them my resume. I went by there a few times, and finally they called me back,” Thurman, a Calhoun native, said. Louisiana Land Bank was not the only place Thurman sent his resume for a summer internship, but it was the place Thurman settled into for the summer, working five days a week, eight hours a day. “We had good walk-in candidates,” said Tyra Knight, vice president of human resources management with Louisiana Land Bank. “We were very impressed by him, what his major was, and how he presented himself.” This summer, Thurman is working in the appraisals department, going from courthouse to courthouse in north Louisiana and gathering comparable sales information. Thurman said his internship has given him valuable information that he can take back to his educational setting at Tech this year and for his career after graduation. “I didn’t know anything about appraising,” Thurman said. “I’m learning how to price crop land, and that’s something that’s really important in agricultural business.” Dr. Gary Kennedy, head of the department of agricultural sciences, said when advising students on where to intern, he asks them what they want to do after graduation. “The faculty recognize the need for students to have a practical, hands-on, real world experience in their chosen field,” Kennedy said. “It strongly relates to the term ‘applied’ in our college’s name.” Kennedy said students should consider internships as soon as possible. “I now start talking internships to students at our freshmen orientation sessions,” he said. “They don’t need to intern as freshmen, but I want them to start thinking about it. It can change their career path. I know it did for me.” Thurman said he suggests all students to show determination in pursuing an internship. “I wanted to get my foot in the door for when I graduate,” he said. “I thought it’d be a good way to meet some contacts and help me whenever I need to find a job.” Knight said Louisiana Land Bank hires former interns and hired one this past year. She added that Parker was the only intern this summer. “We typically look for agriculture majors or business and finance majors,” she said. “We’ve been very pleased with (Thurman’s) work. He’s been a good intern for us.” Thurman said the experience has taught him valuable information, not only about his field but also about how a business runs. “If you’ve never worked full time, it’s definitely an experience waking up every morning and going to work,” he said. “It helps you learn to work in an office environment. This internship has given me a lot of experience to work on my own and not have anyone look over your shoulder. It helps you grow up a bit.”