Developing and Delivering Ag Production Experiences at ARDEC for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Enrolled in the Ram Scholar Program

College of Agricultural Sciences

Agricultural and Resource Economics



Primary Topic:

Economic and Community Development

Other Topics:

Food and Agriculture, Health and Well-Being, Youth and Family Development

Lead Mentor:  

Nathan Clark

Senior Instructor-Agricultural Education

Internship Overview:

The intern will be responsible for developing and delivering immersive production agriculture experiences for students participating in the Ram Scholars program. Ram Scholars is a program designed for individuals (18 years and older) with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD). Participants in the program are building career related and employability skills in the agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR) industry. The purpose of this program is to help IDD individuals become more self-reliant and offset the labor gap of the AFNR industry. A major aspect of the Ram Scholars program is an 8 week summer immersion “internship” in production agriculture. This “internship” will take place at CSU’s ARDEC experiment station north of Forth Collins. The extension intern will be responsible for developing, delivering, and supervising all the immersion production experiences for these students. This intern will work directly with CSU College of Agricultural Sciences (CAS) Ag Education faculty, Extension Regional Specialists, and faculty from the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) Center for Community Partnerships and the Prevention Research Center. Additionally, this intern will work with ARDEC staff and researchers to train and determine the scope and depth of each immersive experience in production agriculture. As the experiences are developed the intern will assist in the implementation of the experiences and train a set of peer mentors (additional students from CAS and/or CHHS) who will work directly with the Ram Scholars participants while they are participating in each immersion experience.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

The goal of this program is for the intern to develop and deliver immersive production agriculture experience for students in the Ram Scholars program with IDD. These experiences will develop career-related skills as the participants who have an interest and/or career related goals in the agriculture, food, and natural resources industries. The intern will work with several partners who will also help coach and mentor them as they develop these in depth production experiences for the IDD participants. Additionally, once developed they will work with and help supervise the CAS and/or CHHS peer mentors who will be working alongside the IDD students as they develop employability skills in the AFNR industries. This intern will work with 6 to 10 IDD students and their peer mentors for around 20 hours a week during the 8-week summer program. When not working directly with IDD participants, the intern will be working with ARDEC staff and Ag Education faculty to learn and prepare experiences for the coming weeks. Additionally, this intern will work with peer mentors for an additional few hours a week training them on upcoming experiences

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

This intern will work with Faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences Ag Education program. Additionally, the inter will work with faculty from The Center for Community Partnerships within the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Prevention Research Center in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies both in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Additionally, they will work directly with the ARDEC staff and researchers as they develop immersion experiences. Larimer County Economic and Work Force Development representatives will also be involved in the project and as such the interns will work with some of these individuals as well.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

The student will develop a deeper understanding of working with IDD individuals, better preparing them to be classroom and/or non-formal/community based agriculture instructors. Having these firsthand experiences will provide our intern with deeper understanding as to how individualized and accommodating instruction works and can be implemented. This individual will be better prepared to enter the teaching, extension, and/or an ag literacy profession having had this deep immersion into working with IDD individuals.
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