Eastern Mennonite University business administration majors Daniel Scott and Jourdyn Friend will work as generalists with Farm Credit of the Virginias after interning with the company. (Photos by Macson McGuigan)

Internships net career starts for EMU business grads

Two Eastern Mennonite University seniors who interned at Farm Credit of the Virginias last summer will be employed there as generalists, a position that encapsulates a variety of roles that develop skills and allow for exploration.

Jourdyn Friend, a business administration major with a minor in human resource management from Richmond, will work in Staunton. Daniel Scott, a business administration major with minors in accounting and human resource management from Moneta, will work in Harrisonburg.

Created in 1916, the Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of cooperative lending institutions that serve agricultural and rural communities. Farm Credit of the Virginias encompasses 96 counties in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, and provides $1.8 billion in financing to its clients, according to its website.

During her internship, Friend developed new approaches for showing customer appreciation, which were later presented to senior leadership. She continued at the agency in fall and spring semester internships through EMU, in part working on increasing the number of veterans in the Farm Credit applicant pool. As an employee, she will work to implement those and other special projects.

Scott, too, worked on the customer appreciation project. He also analyzed tax returns and balance sheets and assisted loan officers and credit analysts in determining applicants’ loan eligibility. In his new position, he will focus on credit analysis for use in making lending decisions, and travel throughout the state to various events to further his knowledge of Farm Credit and agricultural lending.

Team players

Both Friend and Scott credit their experiences as athletes at EMU with helping to prepare them for their careers.

“Teamwork – that’s a big thing,” said Friend, who played basketball. “You cannot win a game by yourself.” She approaches her new job with the same attitude, she said: “If I don’t pull my part of the load, then the team doesn’t succeed. It takes everyone for a team to succeed.”

“Baseball teaches you how to deal with failure,” said Scott, an outfielder. “You’re considered one of the more productive players on your team if you fail seven out of 10 times.” While his final two years were “great,” Scott says he was challenged to grow during his freshman and sophomore year. “I had to be patient and work to be a better player – which taught me how to be a better teammate and person, and that things in life don’t always come easy,” he said.

Accolades

Friend landed her initial internship after EMU alum and Farm Credit employee Maria Martinez visited her class. Although she wasn’t sure she was interested (she had planned to return home to Richmond for the summer), Friend applied for and was offered the internship. It turned out to be “a really good experience,” she said.

Scott discovered a new inclination while taking his first accounting class taught by Professor Leah Kratz. He’d been dreading the course, but “it really kickstarted what I wanted to do with my life and work in the finance world,” he said. “I eventually decided that I wanted to get a minor in accounting, and I genuinely enjoyed each class because I felt that it was something I would later use – and I did use what I learned during my internship this past summer.”

Both received warm accolades from their Farm Credit supervisors.

Friend has been “fully engaged” as an intern and is a “wonderful asset to Farm Credit,” said Melanie Craig, manager of training and employee services. Following each educational trip, farm visit, project or event in which Friend participates, she said, “we always know that Jourdyn will return with information to help our HR department and organization grow.”

Scott had an impressive “enthusiasm and drive to learn more about our company and agricultural lending,” recalls Cole Heizer, who was Scott’s manager during his internship. “He has a great personality and the ability to work with a diverse group of people, and wants to learn more about the ‘why’ behind concepts.”

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