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Internship True Story: Shayna Popkes

Internship True Story: Shayna Popkes

Shayna Popkes_True Story

Tell us about where you grew up

I grew up in the small town of Rock Rapids, Iowa. It was a pretty rural community. It was nice because it was small, but if you wanted to do activities or shop, Sioux Falls, SD (a bigger city) wasn’t far away.

Tell us about where you went to school and what for:

South Dakota State University

Major: Dairy Manufacturing

Minor: Ag Business and Food Safety

Tell us about your internship, how it came about, what it was in, etc.

I did my first internship the summer before my junior year at college. At the time Agropur had already come in for interviews. I happened to ask Dr. Mistry if there was a chance that I could still contact them for an interview. It just so happened Tim Czmowski (Vice President Regional Operations) was actually there that day, and so I had a quick sit down with him. It was very informal and unplanned. I wanted an internship in Hull because it was close to where I lived and would be very convenient. That summer I started it. I was in the QA department doing all sorts of different projects. My first internship was more working in the lab. The following summer I took a second internship with Agropur in Hull. I liked it so much the first time I decided to go back. I was in QA again, which was where I wanted to end up. The second summer I worked on multiple projects as well, but I had the opportunity to learn the whey side more in-depth.

What types of things did you work on and how was the working environment? 

I had multiple projects to complete during each internship.  Through these projects, I learned about the lab and the Quality department.  I also worked on other tasks; things I learned from being with Agropur for two years.

The work environment was fantastic as were most of the people I got to know.  For me, when looking for a job that is the most important thing.  You may not always enjoy your job, you may not always have a good day; but when you work with great people, it can make a difference.

How did your internship start to evolve into a full-time career with Agropur?

My first internship with Agropur was working within the Quality Assurance Department as well as in our lab at our Hull, Iowa plant. There were multiple projects set up to complete which allowed me to learn more about the lab and the quality department. I returned a second summer for another internship with Agropur. That summer, I worked on multiple projects within the whey side of the business. Upon graduation, I accepted a full time role in our Quality department.

Can you talk a little bit about where you are now and what kind of things you work on?

I am currently the Sanitation Supervisor in our Hull, Iowa plant where I work closely with the Quality Assurance Supervisor. A few items that I am always working on are checking ingredients, pre-startup checks on equipment , CIP(Clean In Place) validations, and paperwork to ensure we are in compliance.

Why do you love Agropur? 

I love the values that Agropur strive to have. They are what makes a good company. Agropur has always been great to me and willing to work with me. A company that is willing to work with me, has good people to work with, has good values, and treats me well are why I like Agropur.


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