Megan Graves

Profile of an Executive-in-Residence intern

Few college students get the opportunity to work closely with high business executives, but that is a privilege that Megan Graves, senior majoring in Agricultural Economics, experiences thanks to her Executive-in-Residence internship.

The CAFNR Robert O. Reich Executive-in-Residence program was created in 1997 to provide students “exposure to those with experience and knowledge,” as visiting executives are encouraged to share their knowledge, advice, and views on leadership and business. The Executive-in-Residence intern ultimately helps ensure that the program’s purpose is lived out successfully.

From left to right, front row: Executive-in-Residence Christine Cochran, Megan Graves, Vickie Spain. Top row: Director of Development Heidi Griswold, Todd Cochran, Vice Provost Jim Spain

For the internship Graves communicates with the Executive-in-Residence, assists in planning their schedule, selects venues, plans their lunches, dinners and receptions all the way down to creating the menus. She also produces written materials related to the program, oversees the event on site and serves on the Executive-in-Residence Advisory Board.

“The internship is very rewarding because you see all your work come together,” Graves said. “You get to plan wonderful events and work with lots of fun people so it there is never a dull day.”

Most importantly, she spends the entire two or three days, from 7 a.m. to dinner, with the Executive when they are in town.

“You get the opportunity to meet so many cool people who all really excited to meet you and be on campus,” Graves continued. “Their excitement really rubs off on you and I’m always so proud to show the College off.”

A total of 39 executives have participated in the Executive-in-Residence program. Typically two executives and two or three Professors for Day come to campus each semester. Interns also assist with the Professor for a Day program.

Graves is currently preparing for visits from upcoming executives Richard Maltsbarger, senior vice president of strategy at Lowe’s, and Michael D’Ambrose, senior vice president of human resources at Archer Daniels Midland.

Graves credits the internship for bringing her communication skills to the next level as she has to communicate with high level executives and College staff in a professional matter.

“This internship has provided me with numerous opportunities. I have gotten to meet a lot of the faculty and staff of the College, network with so many different people and gain great job experience,” Graves said.

The internship has also improved her problem solving and people skills.

“I’ve learned to not freak out when something goes wrong. I’ve realized that things have a way of falling back together,” Graves said. “Since so much of the program’s success lies on successful communication, the internship is definitely for the personable and more outgoing type,” Graves pointed out.

Graves, who will be going on to law school next year at UMKC, said that in the long-term this internship will show future employers that she is capable and responsible enough to work with high level executives and plan events.

The internship, which requires about 15 hours a week, is one full academic year and pays $10 an hour. Applicants must be at least a junior, have a 3.0 GPA or higher, possess outstanding communication skills and work effectively. Those interested in applying should e-mail their resume, with their GPA info, to Christine Pickett at