UConn Extension is best known for connecting Connecticut residents with answers they can trust on a host of topics from agriculture, the environment, nutrition, and more. But how they get that information in every corner of the state is a big part of the equation.
This summer, one UConn student is helping UConn Extension spread the word through a unique internship. Abigail Wilber ‘23 (CAHNR) is learning and implementing marketing strategies, practices, and tools to help advance UConn Extension’s digital presence to ensure their content resonates and reaches as many of Connecticut’s residents as possible.
Wilber is no stranger to UConn Extension. She was involved with one of their largest programs, UConn 4-H, for 11 years, showing dairy cattle.
When Wilber learned that UConn Extension offered a variety of summer internship opportunities, she thought it seemed like an obvious fit.
“I was definitely very familiar with what UConn Extension, so I decided to explore the options,” Wilber says.
What was less obvious was the path Wilber chose. Rather than seeking a more traditional agriculture internship, Wilber wanted to branch out. She decided to apply for an internship focusing on marketing, a career she is considering post-graduation.
“I’ve been on the front-end of these programs as a 4-H participant, but I wanted to see what goes into these services, what happens in the office, what needs to happen so Extension can actually meet people where they are” Wilber says.
Most of Wilber’s work this summer has revolved around integrating UConn Extension’s content into an online platform called Salesforce to better promote programs digitally.
“[Salesforce is] a blank slate, you can design it based on what your needs are,” Wilber says. “I’ve learned more about what Extension can do on a large scale. It really helps connect with people to ensure they know Extension is here to provide answers.”
Using Salesforce, Wilber helps Extension complete vital activities like email marketing, transcripts for accessibility, and records management.
Wilber is also helping take Extension publications, like fact sheets and information about their services, and transforming them into graphics they can use on their website or social media platforms to help the information reach and engage a broader audience.
“It’s great to see the different formats we can work with. A lot of our programs are in-person, but the information and content can be shared in other ways too,” Wilber says.
This isn’t Wilber’s first rodeo when it comes to communicating about CAHNR’s programs. During the academic year, she worked for the Department of Animal Science supporting their efforts. The dual exposure in an academic department and an externally facing program like UConn Extension has helped broaden her knowledge of audience and approach.
“It’s interesting to see the difference between those programs in what they do for their marketing,” Wilber says. “You have to think about who you’re trying to reach, as well as lots of other factors like federal sponsors, partners, and marketing goals.”
Wilber recently completed her associate of applied science degree in animal science, a program offered through the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. She is transferring into the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the fall with a concentration in business management and marketing, thanks in part to her experience with UConn Extension this summer.
Wilber says she already feels prepared for a future career in agricultural marketing, and she appreciated the supportive environment that helped her learn.
“I’m glad I had the chance to develop these skills in this type of role and in an area [agriculture] I love,” Wilber says.
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