Q&A with Intern Joshua Peterson

Jun 28, 2021
Name: Joshua PetersonJP-blog-design.png
Title: Application Development/IT Intern
MKC Location: Moundridge, KS
Hometown: Lindsborg, KS
Education: Will be a junior at Kansas State University studying computer engineering
Why did you choose to pursue an internship with MKC/TMA?
I took a summer job at MKC’s Lindsborg location right out of high school. I learned extensively about the inner workings of grain elevators and really enjoyed my time there. The following winter, I had the opportunity to work in Lindsborg again while on winter break, and a co-worker referred me to the internship program. I applied, hopeful for a chance to intern, and was ultimately chosen to be one of the two 2020 Applications Development interns. Even though my time last year had been undercut by many COVID restrictions, the experiences and opportunities I received made me want to return.
What does a day in your life look like this summer?
For me, work starts at 8 AM in Moundridge with a stand-up meeting with my mentor, Mandie Lyons, and other IT co-workers. The stand-up meetings are our designated time to stretch our legs as we spend most of our time sitting, discuss previous day events and talk about our goals for the upcoming day. After, I check my emails and review notes to refresh myself on the project(s) I will be tackling that day. My mornings typically consist of testing out my solutions to the problems I’m given, troubleshooting when projects won’t work or meeting with “end users” to figure out how to best help them. This can be as dull as staring intently at a few lines of code that should work but for some reason won’t or more likely, building my projects out to better fit the needs of their beneficiaries, allowing for extensive learning on the processes MKC has put in place. I’ve also moved into the infrastructure side of IT this summer and have helped set up new desktops, traveling to locations to troubleshoot or fix issues with the hardware team and dealing with computers on the severs.
What has been the most exciting part of your internship?
The most exciting part of my internship has been learning about the technology that goes into making a company like MKC run. From watching and experiencing tech support happen in real time, to being a part of creating real solutions, I have had a phenomenal time experiencing the innerworkings of an IT department. I am always excited to learn and work through anything thrown at me, even if most of it goes over my head sometimes.
What motivates you most about getting up to start a new day as an intern?
I enjoy the chance to make change happen every day. I am bridging the gap between peoples’ needs and their technological solutions. Having the ability to help co-workers do business more efficiently or even just digitizing some paper processes has been really rewarding. In addition to the work I’m given, learning about how MKC operates in an ever-changing tech world is fascinating.
When did you realize you were interested in the major/career path you’re in?
Like many young kids, I always enjoyed taking things apart or at the very least, breaking stuff. As I grew up, I began to see great value in being able to fix things, which was primarily due to helping my dad, uncle and grandpa fix something on almost all our farming equipment. Concurrently, while in middle school, I began to take an interest in coding and electronics. By high school, that interest morphed into a passion for innovation. Upon learning that there was as degree path for the fun projects I had been making, I jumped on the chance to learn more about it. My degree is Computer Engineering which is a mixture of Electrical Engineering (the math and ideals behind circuits) and Computer Science (the coding and principles behind any screen) which allows for a very wide range of possible careers paths and job types.
One thing you can’t leave the house without in the morning and why?
I am not a caffeine addict so I would have to say my headphones. I enjoy listening to music while I work as it helps me tune in and remove other distractions. While it is very nice to be able to talk to my co-workers, IT tends to be a very focused environment and unsurprisingly, a very quiet place. I often can’t deal with the dead silent office, as funny as that sounds, so I listen to music or podcasts for background noise. I’m a fan of 80-90s Rock, 80s-00s and some current pop, and most alternative rock/pop from the 90s to now.