Michigan State University
Michigan State University
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Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
Department of Writing
Rhetoric & American Cultures

PWer Kelsie Donaldson Interns with MSU Tollgate Farm

Meet Professional Writing major Kelsie Donaldson. This past summer, Kelsie completed an internship with MSU Tollgate Farm and Education Center. Located outside Novi, MI, the 160 acre site provides children, families, and adults with hands-on opportunities to learn about farming, gardening, and locally grown food.

For her internship, Kelsie created a daily blog about the activities of children who visited Tollgate as part of a camp program. She wrote the text and also took photos. “It was a really interesting experience to get to write that blog,” she says. “I wrote it from the perspective of the camp turtle, which was a challenge as a writer and made me a stronger one.”

She notes that the experience taught her what it takes to keep up with a regular blog and how to use creativity to create engaging content. She also had the opportunity to develop leadership skills by interacting directly with the campers. “I had a lot of fun teaching and leading them through the activities,” she says. In addition, Kelsie managed and created content for Tollgate Farm’s social media platforms.

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Prior to taking on the internship at Tollgate Farm, Kelsie did a lot to build her PW skillset, focusing particularly on writing, project management, and content strategy. In WRA 480 [Publication Management], she had the opportunity to work on ING Magazine, which provided some useful hands-on experience. “Even though it was a class it felt like a professional experience, writing for print and blogs,” she says.

In addition to her coursework, Kelsie completed a stint as creative services intern at Local 4 News in Detroit, and she is currently interning with the CREATE for STEM Institute on the MSU campus. “Both experiences have been awesome opportunities to put the skills I've gained from PW courses to use,” she says.

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Looking ahead, Kelsie hopes to continue building her knowledge and skills as a writer, editor, and communicator, and following graduation this spring, put them to use in her first post-college job. “I would really like to get an entry-level position as a communication coordinator, possibly in Detroit, and work up to a leadership position,” she says. If she isn’t able to land a job that’s a good fit right away, she may consider the possibility of doing a post-graduation internship.

Keslie says she enjoyed her time at Tollgate Farm and it affirmed her decision to major in professional writing. “I am so glad I picked PW,” she says. “It has been really amazing to meet all the professors and advisors in the program.”

For more information on MSU Tollgate Farm, you can visit https://www.canr.msu.edu/tollgate/.