#NDSUintern Spotlight

Aaron Gratton
Major: Agribusiness
Company: Northern Plains Railroad
Position: Marketing Intern
Location: Fordville, ND

Why did you choose to work for Northern Plains Railroad?

I choose NPR because it was close to home and presented me with an opportunity where I could experience working in a professional environment.

How did you find your internship?

I found my internship through a family friend Jessie Chalich, President of NPR, he offered me the opportunity after I met him at Grain Dealers, a large convention of companies where they advertise their services. He said, “Why work on the farm, when you could work for me.”

Why was it beneficial for you to register for credit(s) through the Internship Program?

I found it beneficial for me to register my credits through the Internship Program to further benefit my degree in Agribusiness .

What advice would you give a student who is in the process of applying to an internship?

For a student in the process of applying an internship, I would greatly recommend they contact the Career Center, the staff really cares about furthering us students and helping us obtain our goals.

What was an average day like for you on the job?

An average day for me at NPR varied day-to-day. I was the Marketing Intern who conducted locomotives from Fordville to Thief River Falls, operate Tampers and Regulators doing track repair also building and inspect the rails. Besides all the physical labor, I did have some great business experiences. I was given the opportunity to market our company to other customers. NPR is a nation wide business so I went on marketing trips to the Twin Cites, Duluth, Fargo and Minot meeting dozens of people a day and telling them about our company. Also attended many board meetings where I voiced my opinion.

What was the most rewarding part of your internship experience?

The most rewarding part of my internship was being part of a professional environment and the skills gained through my experiences there. Yes being able to connect rail cars and start a locomotive may not be the type of skills all employers are looking for but the people skills, marketing and experience I gained will defiantly benefit me in the future.

What was the most challenging part of your job? How did you overcome these obstacles?

The most challenging part of my internship was being given my own marketing projects and deadlines. The way I was able to overcome these obstacles was with the help of my fellow employees.

How has your internship shaped your ideas for your career? Has it changed your career path?

I never thought I would ever be working for a Railroad but after my summer at NPR I could certainly see my self going back, or working in a similar environment.

Would you recommend having an internship?

Everyone needs to do an internship, mainly just to get out of their comfort zone and try something different.

Did your internship help you get a job after graduation? If so, how?

I’m only a sophomore but NPR has offered me another summer job.


By Emma Stupke
Emma Stupke Graduate Assistant Emma Stupke