Get to know the 2024 Intern Team

Posted on: May 9, 2024   |   Category: News Releases

Each summer, South Dakota Farmers Union welcomes three college-age students to serve as Education Program interns. These young adults assist Education Program Specialist Samantha Olson with curriculum development, county camp facilitation and serve as mentors to the junior leaders who plan and facilitate state camps. This year all three interns are Jackrabbits: Aeriel Eitreim, Minnehaha County; Cally Faulhaber, Plankinton and Rachel Groth, Beemer, Nebraska. Read on to get to know them.

Aeriel Eitreim, studying history at SDSU with a specialization in teaching

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Question: How do you see this internship helping you in your future?

Answer: Because education will be my career, this internship will help prepare me because as an intern I will spend the summer working with youth and educating them about cooperatives, leadership and farm safety.

I hope to gain skills that will help me teach students who are a different personality than me, so that I can become an effective educator for all students.

Also, I am eager to learn more from working with Samantha. I like her fresh ideas and what she has done to improve the education programs, while still keeping our traditions.

Question: Tell us about your connection to South Dakota Farmers Union?

Answer: My roots in SDFU run deep. My mom, Melanie Raap-Eitreim, served on the Junior Advisory Council and she enrolled me in day camps as soon as I was old enough. I loved camp!

I served on the Junior Advisory Council (JAC) and received my Torchbearer Award in 2023. I currently serve on the Senior Advisory Council. I credit my leadership and ability to speak in front of groups to my involvement in Farmers Union. Through serving in these Farmers Union leadership roles, there have been many times I needed to stand in front of a roomful of campers and speak.

Cally Faulhaber, studying agriculture education and agriculture leadership at SDSU


Question: Why were you eager to apply for this internship?

Answer: I grew up on a farm near Plankinton. My family has a cow/calf herd, we finish our own cattle and custom feed cattle for others. I and my brother also raise sheep.

Because of my agriculture roots, I was actively involved in 4-H. I did everything I could do in 4-H – static exhibits, showing livestock and I served on leadership teams as a 4-H Ambassador. I always wanted to be a teacher, and realized that I could combine my love of agriculture and 4-H and work as a 4-H Youth Program Adviser for SDSU Extension. This is my dream career.

When I learned that this internship would allow me to educate youth about agriculture AND work for the state’s largest agriculture organization, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to put everything I want to do together.

Question: Why are you looking forward to working with the Junior and Senior Advisory Council members?

Answer: Two 4-H Youth Program Advisers, Hilary Risner and Audra Scheel, are my mentors. They have worked to help me connect with others in the agriculture industry and they spend time helping me whenever I need it. I want to serve as a mentor to the JACs and SACs. I look forward to supporting them as they facilitate camps. I hope to be able to provide them advice to help them be their best.

Rachel Groth, studying ag leadership at SDSU


Question: Why were you eager to apply for this internship?

Answer: Well first of all, my cousin, Hannah Groth, served as a Farmers Union intern and had a really positive experience. She is now an agriculture education teacher and FFA adviser. Based on what my cousin said, and that fact that if there was such a career as an elementary age, agriculture education teacher, it would be my dream career, I decided to apply.

The internship’s agriculture focus is another reason. I grew up on a cow/calf and sheep operation in Nebraska. I was actively involved in 4-H and FFA. So, I am very passionate about agriculture and want to continue working in the agriculture industry after college because of the people who are involved in the agriculture industry. Ag people are always willing to lend a helping hand – like our neighbors helping us pull a calf during calving season when the vet was not available.

Question: Why are you eager to teach youth about agriculture?

Answer: I enjoy working with youth because I like the fact that they are always eager to learn.

I have put on a few Ag in the Classroom Days for local daycares in my community and I enjoyed the great questions that young kids ask. I see a big disconnect between kids raised like me on the farm and kids who grow up urban. Helping bridge this gap through education drives me – it is a passion of mine.