My dream while in college was a simple one: Find an internship in the field of my study, one that I could really learn what I wanted to do with my degree. One that sent me far away from my hometown, far away from my university. One that made me learn how to survive without knowing anyone and how to make new friends and connections. However, this was a dream, not something that I believed attainable.
However, through "sweat, determination and hard work," the dream began. I was filling out application upon application, trying to find my dream internship, to find some way to work within the industry I love that would permit me to gain experience enabling me to stand out within a stack of graduate school applications and even career applications in the future. Earning a little money while doing it is would be just fine too, right?
Then I saw a poster that was hanging on the fourth floor of Oakley Applied Science at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, for the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program. I went online, applied for the position and went on. I closed out the application with no expectations. A scholarship program in Oklahoma, 700-plus miles away from home, working with researchers at the forefront of the industry? That is the kind of experience that people dream of. The kind that you only get after years of internships. However, to my surprise, shortly into March, I was called and asked if I could give an interview. Fast forward to April, the offer was made and I accepted. I was a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture.
In the short time here, all of the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture and interns have become great friends. Here, eight of us are going to go water the tomatoes. Who knew it took so many of us?
I was sitting on cloud nine. A small town country boy from a little no-name university of 12,000 students in western Kentucky received an offer to spend the summer learning at a leading research institution in the Midwest. I couldn't be happier. Working on small research projects in my department at MSU, I was extremely excited to work alongside the researchers and consultants at the Noble Research Institute.
Moving to the West (Midwest as I am corrected fairly often enough now), I knew, would be an experience for me. One that I will look back upon in the future and think, "Wow, did I really do that? Was that real?" I hope this summer will live up to the expectations I have of it. I hope to leave this summer with relationships with people that I could not receive from any other place, connections with the leaders in the industry that are unmatched, and memories that will last a lifetime. I want to leave Ardmore, Oklahoma, having fulfilled my dream.
Vaughn Reed is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Greenville, Kentucky, where his family runs a diverse farming operation including beef cattle, show goats, forage and garden production. He is a senior at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, majoring in agronomy and minoring in chemistry.